The chancellor of American International University West Africa (AIUWA) has advised The Gambia government and the authorities of Ecowas to explore the possibility of mobilising efforts to provide requisite medical training to armed forces within the region to prepare for future pandemics like Covid-19.
Addressing GAF and AFCSC Senior Course participants from Nigeria who are on an eight-day visit in The Gambia as part of a study tour of selected countries, Chancellor Dinesh Shukla, said the medical capacity of GAF and other militaries in Ecowas should be strengthened as a precautionary measure for future health challenges.
“We are a group of 15 countries. We all can contribute and make any place a focal point where each of the country’s army forces can send prospective candidates to become professional doctors, pharmacists, dentists, nurses, laboratory and pharmacy technicians. I think that is the way to go because the civilians can only go to a certain level but the army has the infrastructure for the entire country and the region for Ecowas,” he said.
He also emphasised the need for the adoption of meaningful health research that would help societies in combating the global health threatening disease, Covid-19.
Chancellor Shukla said the Covid-19 challenges can only be defeated through partnership.
Turning to the strategies adopted by his University to mitigate the effects of the pandemic, Shukla said: “We have adapted to technology to convey our education activities and through that we are able to manage reasonably well despite the challenge.”
The Armed Forces Command and Staff College is one of the apex military training institutions for the Nigerian Armed Forces. The primary mission to The Gambia is to impart knowledge and develop expertise and skills of selected senior military officers and their equivalent in the civil sector through a firm understanding of the essential factors that impact on national security and prepare them for higher responsibilities at operational and strategic levels in national and international assignments.
For his part, Dr Yankuba Kassama, provost of the AIUWA School of medicine and health sciences “nothing can be done without security.”
“These are times when works were closed and many activities delayed. Security is important in the implementation of laws for Covid-19 prevention,” he said.
Major Alex Azua Jir, a student of the AFCSC expressed gratitude to the university and assured them of future collaboration, saying the challenges of Covid-19 have forced scientists fast-track their research and come up with new ideas on how to defeat the pandemic.