By Omar Bah
The Nurses’ Bantaba Charitable Foundation, a group of professional nurses with 200 members living in The Gambia and abroad, has donated D52, 125 to a colleague nurse who has been battling with Achalasia. Achalasia is a rare disorder that makes it impossible for food and liquid to pass from the swallowing tube connecting to the patient’s mouth and stomach.
Until her sickness, Mariama Bah was posted to the Essau Health Centre where according to her former boss, she served with dedication and commitment.
When her co-workers found out about her sickness, they decided to mobilise funds to support her medical treatment.
“I have been unable to eat through my swallowing tube since 2013 and you can imagine how painful that can be,” an emotional Mariama said shortly after receiving the donation at her Kololi residence.
To her fellow nurses, Mariama said: “This is so special and at the same time emotional. They have just been very generous.”
Mariama was operated in Dakar but she could not heal and now uses a pipe to drink and feed herself.
“The doctor who fixed it on me told me to beg my family to accept it that way just to keep me alive because they could not treat the complication,” she said.
The vice president of the Nurses’ Bantaba, Sheikh Hatab Tamba, said: “We get an opportunity to take care of one of our members. This charity is formed to give back not only to its members but the society in general. We assure Mariama that we are doing everything to assist her get back on her feet and up and running. I also want to assure Mariama that we will continue to give her required support. We will make sure you don’t fight this battle alone,” he said.
The secretary general of the Bantaba and former director of health NBR, Baba Njie, said it is in the group’s DNA to help those who are sick, especially those who they work with. “I want to thank all those who contributed because some of them have never seen Mariama before but the moment they heard about her story, they chipped in to contribute,” he said. Mr Njie consoled Mariama to stay strong as the Charity engages with the Ministry of Health to facilitate her overseas treatment.
Momodou Drammeh, a cousin to Mariama, said the donation could not have come at a better time and assured the donors that it will go a long way in supporting Mariama in her fight. “We are not surprised because nurses are known for caring and supporting,” Drammeh said.
Registered three years, Nurses’ Bantaba Charitable Organisation has during the peak of Covid-19, extended support to EFSTH with the provision of facemasks, hand sanitizers, cartons of gloves, reagents, filled oxygen cylinders for Covid-19 treatment centers, bed sheets, leather pillows.