By Olimatou Coker
As a leading child protection and development agency in the country, ChildFund International The Gambia has recently conducted training for 57 local partner community mobilizers to join the ongoing emergency response against the Acute Kidney Injury (AKI) disease outbreak in The Gambia.
The training was held at the Saama Kairo Office in Brikama.
AKI has killed 69 children in the last 90 days.
The day-long training was attended by officials from the Ministry of Health, the National Disaster Management Agency, and the Gambia Red Cross Society. With over 32 community associations in the Western and Lower River regions, the Community Mobilizers enjoy the closest relations with communities, making their participation in the ongoing medicines recall from homes critical. 47 CMs attended the training, and have now deployed to communities with public health officers and volunteers from The Gambia Red Cross Society to recall all the medicine syrups identified by health officials as contaminated.
Musukuta Komma Bah, ChildFund International the Gambia Country Director, said the aim of the day-long training is to retrieve the use of this medication in the communities so that there won’t be any further consumption or association to those medicines to contribute to more deaths
“As a country, we can only achieve what we want if we collaborate. I appreciate the partnership with MoH and other stakeholders in the business of the children.”
She added that 69 young lives have been lost and they are yet to know the current situation.
“As ChildFund and its partners, we cannot accept for that number to increase, so we are taking a deliberate stand that whatever it takes to ensure that the number stops at that 69 we are prepared and we are going to work towards.”
She also urged the 57 frontliners to find time and go to their various communities and use the community structures. “Let’s talk about it and let’s ensure that we collect everyone that we find in the householders, every medication or medical syrups retrieve them, record them and keep them. They will be collected and handed over to the Ministry of Health.”
Mabassi Sanneh, NDMA program officer, noted that the early warning information would help to contain AKI.
Lamin Manneh, Epidemiology and Disease Control Program at the Ministry of Health, said as it is they have 78 cases of AKI and 66 deaths out of 78 cases, “so we are talking about a case fatally of 85%.
Manneh urged them not to only collect the syrups but to also disseminate awareness messages to communities and caregivers.
Sheriffo Mbooge, GRCS Regional Office WCR, explained that 350 GRCS volunteers had been deployed in all districts within the West Coast Region to recover the contaminated medication.