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Saturday, October 16, 2021

Health minister thumbs up validation of first social protection document

The  validation aimed to boost protection, promotion and transformation of  the lives of poor and vulnerable groups in The Gambia was held at Red Croc Hotel.

The long term aim of the document, according to officials, is to “establish by 2035 an inclusive, integrated and comprehensive social protection system that will effectively protect, prevent, promote and transform the lives of all poor and vulnerable groups in The Gambia and contribute to broader human development, greater economic productivity and inclusive growth.” 

Delivering his statement on the validation exercise the Health Minister said: “Nowadays effective social protection occupies centre stage as never before. In a world filled with risk and potential dangers, social protection systems are being built, redefined or reformed in almost every country to help people and families improve their livelihoods, resilience, productivity, creates opportunities, cope with shocks, and invest in the health, education and well being of their children.”

The health minister, whose ministry is taking the lead in the drafting and implementation of NSPP further  told key stakeholders including Civil societies, UN system and government officials that  “while social protection policies and programmes are designed for individuals and families, they can also be broadly transformative- by providing a foundation for inclusive growth, poverty alleviation and social stability.”

 “The Gambia has made significant strides to improve the wellbeing of vulnerable populations. Despite promising economic growth rates and poverty reduction efforts in The Gambia, social exclusion of the most vulnerable groups and communities continues to be at an inadequate level. Social protection policies and programmes should help bridge the gap between needs and services. They help reduce key risks and break inter-generational cycles of poverty and vulnerability”.

While assuring of the support of the UN system to the endeavor the United Nations resident coordinator in The Gambia, Ms. Ade Mamonyene Lekoetje reminded the participants: 

“Your job here today is to further review and scrutinise both documents to ensure that they have the requisite elements to provide an effective and efficient social protection system .I want to commend the government of The Gambia for taking the bold step to set up a social protection system. This is a declaration and a re-affirmation of government’s commitment to modernise and transform the national social protection system in a much-coordinated manner.

We remain committed to building a sustainable social protection system in The Gambia that is universal and ensures effective service delivery to the poor and most vulnerable.”

Deputising the minister of finance, deputy permanent Secretary , Modou Ceesay pointed out that “social protection is not new, what is new is  the drive to develop a comprehensive framework and strategy for targeting and implementation of social protection support interventions”.

Muhammed Lamin Jaiteh, the chairperson of National Social Protection Steering Committee (NSPSC) and director of Policy Analysis Unit at the Office of the President, said:  “The government under President Jammeh is embarking on social protection initiatives to streamline interventions in this area .In fact, the Page and other government development blueprints recognise the importance of social protection as human rights”.

The development of the country’s first national social protection policy is initiated by government with support and guidance from United Nation system in The Gambia .According to officials, the policy document defines a comprehensive and crosscutting social protection agenda and proposes a set of priority actions to guide the gradual establishment of an integral and inclusive social protection system in the Gambia. 

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