The First Lady of the Republic, Fatoumatta Bah-Barrow on Monday joined a group of medical personnel and educationists from Delaware, U.S. at a needs assessment exercise at the Edward Francis Small Teaching Hospital in Banjul.
The group of philanthropists, under the auspices of Delaware African Carribean Community (Dacc), is in the country at the invitation of the Fatou Bah-Barrow Foundation (FaBB).
“The First Lady has a strong passion for health, which is why when she honoured the invitation of the Dacc last year [to travel to the US], she made arrangements for such a partnership with the country’s main referral hospital,” Ms Fatou Ceesay, CEO of the Foundation, said in a statement at the hospital.
The team, which comprised medical specialists and health academics, is visiting to gather first-hand information to enable them to deliver the right form of assistance needed by the teaching hospital and the medical school of the University of The Gambia, which is housed in the same premises. According to officials, it would also inform the basis of a Memorandum of Understanding to be signed between Dacc and the EFSTH.
The preliminary results from the fact-finding revealed inadequate supply of modern medical and clinical equipment, which according to the doctors on the ground hampers the efforts of domestic specialists at the hospital, leading to more overseas referrals.
Doctor Jallow was quick to add that despite the high cost attached to overseas treatment, the FaBB Foundation is quite supportive in financing the operations of a number of patients in Dakar, Senegal.
“These were all children with severe medical conditions and we are not equipped for such operations neither do we have such specialists here,” the doctor told the delegates.
At the medical school of the University of The Gambia, the Provost, Prof Ousman Nyan, explained that the school has helped increase medical graduates since its inception. However, they are also grappling with challenges, ranging from equipment, space, to training resources.
At the end of the tour, the group will come up with a report that will inform an intervention package from the Dacc to the EFSTH.