By Omar Bah
In a rare acknowledgement for the Ecomig troops, the communities of Barra and Essau have expressed gratitude to the Ghanaian Ecomig contingent for their unprecedented interventions in the area.
The acknowledgement received by the Ghanaian troops is unique among the Ecomig forces deployed into the country in 2017. The continued stay of the forces has received a lot of condemnation from critics of the government. However, the communities of Barra and Essau said they wish the Ghanaian troops will even stay here for a little longer thanks to the wonderful support they are rendering to the community especially in the areas of health.
Last Friday, the troops spent the majority of the day at the Essau Health Center donating blood. The move came after a pregnant woman who was under emergency for lacking blood was rescued by a member of the troops.
“We have pride ourselves with investing our energy and resources in community service since we arrived in the country,” Commander of the Ghanaian troops serving with Ecomig (GHANCO 5), Lieutenant Colonel William Kobby Ackah said.
The Ghanian contingent, Col Ackah added, since their deployment in The Gambia has conducted several community activities especially in the North Bank Region.
“And I want to seize this opportunity to appreciate the cordial working relationship that we have continued to enjoy since we arrived in the country,” he said.
“In addition to our military operational activities, we have embarked on a wide range of humanitarian activities – civil-military activities as a way of engaging with the various communities and the people we are here to serve,” he said.
Col Ackah said medical outreach activities have been a very important component of the troop’s activities.
“Just last week, we had an emergency where a pregnant woman needed blood and then we had to bring some of our soldiers to donate blood to her and eventually save her life. It was because of that experience that the medical officer and the civil-military cooperation officer brought the idea that it’s important that we come and donate blood,” he said.
He said the contingent is committed to continue supporting the communities they operate in.
The troop’s medical officer, Naval Lieutenant Andy Dela Togbe said his medical team has been rendering constant support to the hospital since they arrived in the country.
“But I have noticed that there was a shortage of blood in the blood bank for which even a week prior to this day, I have to call on some of my soldiers to come and donate blood urgently for a woman who has just delivered for her to be transfused. So, her life will be saved,” he said.
Lieutenant Andy said the hospital is also facing shortage of drugs and some consumables at its pharmacy for which sometimes, he had to come with drugs which were meant for the troops and give them to the hospital.
“This is why as part of the blood donation, we are also donating hand sanitisers, disposable gloves, intravenous envisions, a box of salted medication, anti-malaria and antibiotics medicines. We hope the items will help improve the service delivery,” he said.
The officer-in-charge of the Essau Hospital, Sira Conteh thanked the Ecomig for the timely support. “This is a demonstration of true African brotherhood.
It is pan-Africanism that you are showing us. The partnership between the Ecomig mission and this facility has been long and fruitful,” she said.