By Omar Bah
A breakthrough has been reached in Gambia’s month-long doctors’ strike, the President of the Resident Doctors Association Dr Bah confirmed to The Standard yesterday,
Bah said the striking doctors have agreed to unanimously restore full clinical services in all public health facilities effective since Saturday.
The strike was triggered by allegations of corruption made by the Health Minister Saffie Lowe Ceesay— a charge vehemently denied by the doctors.
Confirming the latest development to The Standard, the President of the Resident Doctors Association, Ebrima Bah said the doctors have decided to return to work, following an agreement they reached with the government.
Dr. Bah said they will continue to hold the government accountable especially on issues relating to revamping the collapsed health sector.
“We want to make it clear that the Ministry of Health will be held accountable from now on and we will no longer remain silent and watch our innocent patients die. We would also add that this is consistent with our sworn Hippocratic Oath which in summary says a doctor must do everything to ensure that his/her patient get the best services,” he said.
Dr. Bah said based on the assurances given by the government to improve the country’s health sector, they have decided to end the strike action.
Meanwhile, in a joint statement signed by Gambia’s Vice President and Women’s Affairs Minister Fatoumatta Jallow Tambajang, Dr. Ebrima Bah, and Dr. Basiru Gai, the government has agreed to entertain some of the doctors’ demands.
For example, the government has promised to allocate $2 million dollars from the Gambia local fund to procure essential drugs and medical services through competitive international bidding.
The delivery of relief medical supplies and equipment worth half a million dollars from Med Service through an NGO called Safe Hands for Girls was also part of the deal.
The agreement reached between the doctors and the government also called for the procurement of essential drugs and medical supplies worth $1 million dollars through a World Bank project under the management of the National Nutrition Agency (NANA). Nana is a Gambian nongovernmental organization.
Part of the agreement also called for a mobilized multidisciplinary assistance from the USAID, WORLD BANK, UNICEF, UNFPA, and WHO for a countrywide strategic need assessment for a comprehensive health sector reform.