State House, Banjul, 28 November 2017 – President Adama Barrow said the relationship The Gambia currently has with the world is getting stronger and called on all to work together to achieve the desired goal. President Barrow positioned health as one of the top priority areas of his administration and assured partners of the political will to improve the country’s health sector. He made these remarks when three different delegations of health experts from West African College of Surgeons (WACS), United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Medical Research Council Unit, The Gambia (MRC) respectively called on him at the State House in Banjul yesterday.
The executive committee members of the West African College of Surgeons accompanied by the Health Minister, Saffie Lowe-Ceesay briefed President Barrow on plans for an upcoming conference in The Gambia scheduled early next year.
The president and chairman of the council, Professor King David Terna Yawe said the 2018 conference in The Gambia would be an opportunity for the new Gambia to benefit from capacity building and improvement of health facilities. He informed President Barrow that they have 22 members of the council and over 6,000 specialists but added that Africa still needs more specialists.
The West Africa College of Surgeons chair revealed that his members would provide surgery services free for patients in The Gambia as a way of giving back to the people as well as train personnel who would stay in rural areas.
They also plan to have fundraising activities in The Gambia to support the health sector.
The chairman of the local organising committee, Dr Melville George said the March 2018 conference would be the third time The Gambia will be hosting the West Africa College of Surgeons.
Executive members of the WACS from Senegal, Nigeria, Ghana and re-known Gambian surgeon, Dr Abubacar Jah, head of EFSTH, Dr Samateh and Dr Roberts and Dr Sowe were among the delegation at State House.
In another engagement President Barrow received the USAID delegation from Ghana led by the United States Ambassador to The Gambia, Patricia Alsup. The USAID team is on a health assessment mission of the public health system of The Gambia. The assessment would provide the Ministry of Health with guidance and support for financing, policy and infrastructure. It would also provide opportunity for discussions that would shape the assistance USAID would provide to the ministry.
The re-engagement of USAID in The Gambia is as a result of the New Gambia promoting democratic governance.
In another separate engagement, President Barrow welcomed the director of London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, Sir Professor Baron Piot and the head of the Medical Research Council Professor Umberto D’Alessandro who were accompanied to State House by the British Ambassador to The Gambia, Sharon Wardle.
The courtesy call focused on congratulating President Barrow for his representation at the 70th anniversary celebration of the MRC in The Gambia. Professor Piot appreciated the opportunity provided for researchers from different parts of the world to meet in The Gambia and said he was impressed with the community work MRC continues to undertake in the country. He pledged that despite the MRC under the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, would continue to provide capacity building through training. Professor Piot also stressed that they would continue the advocacy and would share the story of good governance in The Gambia.