By Tabora Bojang
Thirty-nine newly qualified medical practitioners have been inducted into the country’s medical profession yesterday.
The event held at the Paradise Suites Hotel was presided over by the overseer of the vice presidency and minister of Women’s Affairs, Fatoumatta Jallow-Tambajang.
The tenth cohort of the newly-qualified medical personnel is the highest number of graduates ever produced by the medical school since its inception. They include 11 men and 22 women doctors and underwent seven years of extensive studies in anatomy, physiology, pathology and pharmacology studies at the UTG School of Medicine and Allied Health Sciences.
In her keynote address, Mrs Jallow-Tambajang said The Gambia’s disease profile is currently characterised by the twin burden of communicable and non-communicable diseases as statistics show that the health of women and children remains very challenging.
She said the area of challenge for most countries, especially in sub-Saharan Africa, including The Gambia is the inadequate budgetary allocation to the health sector which is due to the fact that all sectors are competing for the limited financial resources that are available.
According to her, the Abuja Declaration which called for 15% allocation of the national budget to the health sector, has not been attained by most countries.
That, she said, coupled with irregular flow of funds hampers effective planning and implementation of programs in the health sector.
She stated: “Despite these limitations, The Gambia health sector is doing its best with the resources that are available to achieve their strategic objectives especially focusing on providing an adequate and competent health workforce. The UTG is commended for shouldering the responsibilities in this regard.
“It is particularly important to emphasise, especially training and the acquisition of maintenance of professional competence, to meet the multifarious health needs of the people the government plans to rehabilitate and upgrade health care delivery facilities in the country in order to create a better work environment and conditions of service.”
She expressed government’s sincere appreciation for the support it gets from key strategic partners in medical and allied health sciences especially the Cuban technical assistants, WHO, and WAHO.
The Minister of Health, Saffie Lowe-Ceesay enjoined the young doctors as health professionals, to maintain the momentum of academic and professional excellence through sustained application to study, practice and to adhere to the professional ethics and norms of the medical profession.
She said since its inception in 1999, the medical school has produced over 200 medical graduates, with an impressive 47 per cent of the graduates being female.
She spoke of her ministry’s resolve to improving the quality of the health workforce as well a creating better working conditions of service.
The vice chancellor of the UTG, Professor Faqir Muhammad Anjum, said it was obvious that being a health worker is a very tall order, given that human health and its related issues have undergone tremendous changes.
“As you are fully aware, several disease conditions which were formerly treated with the application of antibiotics are now not manageable as a result of the building of resistances, therefore as scientists you need to be cautiously innovative and continually search for knowledge,” he advised.
The newly inducted doctors are: Majula Ceesay, Muhammed M Ceesay, Yusupha Cham, Lamin K Ceesay, Morikeba Danso, Omar Darboe, Aunty Nyima Fofana, Edrissa Gassama, Catherine Griggs, Zainab Jallow, Amadou SH Jallow, Habibatou Jallow, Momodou B Jallow, Awa Jammeh, Ramatoulie B Jammeh, Rohey Jarju, Madan Jobe, Amie Jones, Leorice Herne, Baba Modou Leigh, Mam Nabou Leigh, Yamundow Leigh, Fatou E Manneh, Fatou M Manneh, Fatoumatta Tunkara, Yarreh Suso, Fatoumatta Singhateh, Pa Ousman Sillah, Fatoumatta Sillah, Absa Secka, Kumba Senghore, Mariama Sarr, Fatou Sanyang, Binta Sanyang, Mama Sankareh, Brebina Akanno, Emem Udo Bassey, Juliet Nyame and Prince Patrick Myers.