By Omar Bah
Dr Abdoulie Keita, consultant gyneacologist and head of the obstetrics and gynecology unit at the EFSTH, has recognised the valuable and life-saving interventions of the Nurses Bantaba Charitable Foundation.
The foundation, formed by retired and serving Gambian nurses living home and abroad, recently handed over valuable medical items to the country’s main referral hospital. The medical items will directly benefit the hospital’s maternity department which deals with all the complicated deliveries in the country.
Dr Keita said the Nurses Banta Foundation has been a reliable partner of the hospital especially during critical times like the Covid-19 pandemic.
“As the department responsible for all the complicated deliveries in the country, we have a big responsibility that is compounded by a number of challenges which include lack of adequate utilities and space to operate effectively. The building, which is currently hosting the department, was built decades ago,” he said.
“We have only two operating theatres for the entire country which is a very big concern, so the demand far exceeds the powers that exist,” he said.
Dr Keita thanked the foundation for choosing to support his department.
“We have the opportunity to study outside of the country and I know those countries have the potential to sponsor the Gambia but they are not doing it. So, you deserve a big felicitation for taking the bold step to share the little things you have with the general public,” he said.
He said the country’s maternal mortality rate has dropped significantly, arguing that “there is no country that has zero maternal mortality”. Dr Keita urged other NGOs to follow the footsteps of the Nurses Bantaba.
The spokesperson of the EFSTH, Kebba Sanneh said the management of the hospital is pleased by the support.
The secretary general of the Bantaba and a former director of health NBR, Baba Njie, said the donation marks another milestone in the history of the foundation. “The foundation is committed towards contributing to the development of the country’s health care delivery. We hope the items will improve quality in the maternal unit,” Njie said.
He said the foundation has distributed different types of medical items to health facilities.
“Our donations come from contributions by members home and abroad and sometimes philanthropists,” he added.
Mr Njie said the foundation, which consists of a group of professional nurses with 200 members living in The Gambia and abroad, recently donated D52, 125 to a colleague nurse who has been battling with Achalasia.
“We also have members who are active in the health sector in the country and in the diaspora doing all they can to compliment the government’s efforts. We also organise walks for health annually to generate funds to support our projects,” he added.
Jariatou Drammeh, deputy chief matron 2 at EFSTH, said the foundation has on many occasions bailed out the hospital with items that were short in supply even around the world.
“We appreciate the support and I want to assure you that the items will be put into good use. We encourage those in social media criticising health providers in the country to engage in meaningful interventions like this one to support humanity,” she said.
Madam Drammeh argued that health professionals undergo trauma to provide the needed health services to the public under very difficult circumstances.
The donated medical items included ace masks/face shields/goggles for theatre use, suction connecting tubes, different medications, resuscitation T-piece kits, boxes infant feeding and drainage tubes, fluid resistant face masks, disposable insufflation tubing, infant pediatric, electrostatic filters, primary plum giving sets, super absorbent dressing pads, cardiology permanent pacing procedure pack, anaesthetic circuit set, universal Aseptic dressing with medium vitrex gloves, pampers, theatre pack basic fracture sets, electronic blood pressure machines, Infrared thermometers and electronic baby weighing scales.