By Aminata Ceesay & Fatoumatta Dukureh Operation Save the Children Foundation, OSCF, under the leadership of Her Excellence, Madam Zineb Yahya Jammeh, has on Thursday 5th January donated D15, 000 to each of the four babies born on New Year’s Day at Bansang and Farafenni hospitals, respectively. The presentation of gifts and cash prizes at Bansang was presided over by the Minister of Health and Social Welfare Omar Sey representing the First Lady and was attended by the staff of Gamtel/Gamcel, Eco Bank, and other stakeholders. Speaking at the presentation, the Health Minister, Omar Sey highlighted the significance of the gesture, describing it as a great and vital development to the beneficiaries and the nation at large. He said: “What the First Lady is doing is to motivate and catalyze the efforts of the Government. The positive and health care in the country is free, while other countries you have to buy gloves, soaps etc. but in this country there is no body who goes for delivery and spends a butut. That is only in the Gambia so we should be proud of ourselves.” He expressed gratitude to the First Family and recognized other stakeholders who have equally contributed in the welfare of children and mothers. He further thanked the CEO and the staff of Bansang hospital for making the Hospital what it is meant to be, “for their hard work, motivation, devotion and energy. “I have gone to different parts of the world but when it comes to rural health services, Bansang hospital is number one. I wish we can replicate or leave the structure and staff to the city because this is what we expect a hospital to be.” Also speaking, the CEO of the hospital, Baba Jeng, said the First Lady’s initiative enables children to live a healthy and hopeful life until adulthood. He commended her for her devotion to improving the lives of the entire Gambian children, and also in decentralizing the welcoming of the first babies of the year to each public hospital in the entire country; providing the opportunities for more babies and parents to enjoy the noble initiative. Showing gratitude to the First family, the mothers of the lucky babies thanked Madam Jammeh for the gesture. Gamtel/Gamcel also donated D15, 000 to each babies. The governor of central River Region/board chairman Alh. Omar Khan and the Principal Nursing officer Bansang Hospital Mr Burama Badjie, all shared similar sentiments to the First Lady’s gesture. Meanwhile, a similar exercise took place at Farafenni hospital where Fatou Lamin-Faye, the minister of Basic and Secondary Education, stepped in for the First Lady. “We have a leader with foresight and our First Lady can’t do without him,” she said, adding that the President has done extremely well in women empowerment and general wellbeing of all children, as she described free education as one of those. She also outlined the ban of FGM and child marriage, saying that the President and the First Lady need to be applauded for their foresight. She acknowledged the role of partners in the whole crusade, noting that the President and the First Lady could not have achieved all these successes without them. She singled out Gamtel/Gamcel for their consistent support to the Foundation. The basic education Minister urged communities to make good use of the opportunity created by government in the health sector. “Opportunities are created but it is left for us to make use of those opportunities,” she said. She also applauded the hospital staff for their hard work, which she said, has yielded result even in the face of unlimited resources. She further advised them to be their brothers and sisters’ keepers, noting that it will enhance continued success. The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the hospital, Mamadi Cham, hailed the initiative for being very vibrant, pointing out that it has wiped put competition among hospitals in terms of first new born babies. He indicated that the initiative since its decentralization has eliminated cost of transportation of new born babies as well as their families to Banjul. He added that the initiative also motivated staff to be hard working and stay long on duties during the very night in the bid to witness the occasion. “Because of this initiative, one of the families named their child after the First Lady last year because of joy,” he said, while urging the families to wisely utilize the gesture presented to them. Fakebba Jatta, the representative of Gamtel/Gamcel expressed his company’s resolve and willingness to support the cause of the Foundation. The Governor of the North Bank Region, Lamin Queen Jammeh, outlined the importance of this initiative, thus calling on the communities to acknowledge it and that it calls for births to be administered at hospitals instead. “Let’s not allow births to be administered at home especially when they are not been handled by professionals,” he said. He pointed out that the government has invested hugely in hospitals and that people should make good use of them. He paid tribute to the First Lady for the bold initiative, which he said was born out of reasonable health policies. He indicated government’s commitment to health promotion thus, giving the private sector the leverage to have foothold in health matters. The principal nursing officer, Lamin Bondi urged communities to take heed on service delivery, noting that all health facilities across the country are doing good health service delivery. The father of the baby boy, Sulayman Ceesay, said that he was overwhelmed with joy and thanked the Foundation and its partners for the gesture. Dodou Cham the father of the baby girl thanked the First Family for the gift and promised that the gesture will be put into good use.]]>
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With Latirr Carr As I debated with myself on what to write for my week's essay, I had a brief moment, where I looked out...
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