By Olimatou Coker
The European Union through the Ministry of Trade, Industry, Regional Integration and Employment Wednesday handed over 10,000 face masks, 500 protective suits and 100 face shields to the Ministry of Health to enhance the availability of basic supplies and equipment to fight the Covid-19 pandemic in The Gambia.
The donation is part of a larger contribution of 2,000 protective suits and shoe covers, 40,000 face masks and 100 face shields that are being produced under the EU-funded projects, including Youth Empowerment Project implemented by ITC and the EU-IOM Joint initiative for migration protection and reintegration. The equipment are all made in The Gambia.
The equipment are intended for frontline immigration and border officials, frontline workers and other exposed professionals as well as medical staff.
Speaking at the handing over held at Banjul, Attila Lajos EU Ambassador to The Gambia said the project aims to support income generating activities for Gambians by promoting locally-made solutions.
He highlighted that the production and manufacturing of the equipment is “proof that there is no stigma in being a returnee, and that returnees can make it here – Tekki Fii – while helping their country in times of crisis”.
He pointed out that Covid-19 has not only created a health crisis but also a socioeconomic crisis with small businesses being the most harshly hit.
He observed that in the tourism sector alone, billions of dalasi are lost due to the virus.
According to him we need partnerships in these times of crisis more than ever, saying the more we work together, the better we will weather this crisis.
He assured government that EU stands united with its people in the fight against Covid-19, as well as expressed their readiness to continue to build on the skills and expertise of Gambians to unlock responses to this crisis.
Dr Amadou Lamin Samateh, Minister of Health said his ministry’s efforts in the fight against Covid-19 continue to yield results as The Gambia continues to register the lowest number of positive cases globally.
Despite the achievement, Minister Samateh appealed to the public especially those close to the border not to be complacent to ensure we do not register another death or imported case of the virus.
He commended frontline workers, government as well as partners for their commitment and support in their struggle against Covid-19.
He also urged people to continue regular hand washing, use of sanitizers as well as observe social distancing and avoid hand shaking.
Lamin Jobe, Minister of Trade, Industry, Regional Integration and Employment thanked EU for its continuous support towards Gambia’s development agenda.
He said the equipment will help protect lives of frontline workers from the scourge of Covid-19.
He thanked the Ministry of Health for its commitment and efforts in the fight against the virus.