By Olimatou Coker & Aminata Kuyateh
In a quest to support access to health services for its community members, the Bakau Development Committee in partnership with American doctors on Thursday held a day-long free medical service for the people of Bakau .
Dr. Nafie Ceesay, the lead doctor of the team, said this free medical service serves as a way of giving back to her community.
Dr Ceesay’s initiative is a development oriented scheme, complementing government’s efforts in the health sector.
She also said the initiative is annually conducted with support initiatives covering areas beyond Bakau. “We choose different communities and we go over and help patients out. Treat a lot of the chronic diseases, hypertension, diabetes, skin infections, constipation, and anything that people may have fungal infections, and so we give medications typically to any patient who needs it, but cannot afford it. Because we all know medication prices are very expensive in the country, so some patients go without any medications because they can’t afford it.”
She explained that the Ousman Koro Ceesay Foundation comes twice a year and they target communities that need the medications.
She also highlighted some of the major cases received, such as diabetes and high blood increasingly affecting people. “We have been seeing a lot of severe hypertension. I mean the type of high blood pressures I see here, I have never seen ever in my career as a physician in the US. So we’re seeing blood pressures of 250, 280 over 140 I didn’t know that that was compatible with life. We’re seeing pretty severe blood pressures. So we give them medications, have them sit down for about half an hour, check their blood pressures, and then we give them medications for six months so that they don’t go without any medication.”
She urged patients to change their eating patterns, and diets to control their sugar and blood levels.
Alhagie Badara Yerro Jallow, the chairman of Bakau Development Committee, said their partnership with the medical team is helping raise community awareness on key health issues.
“This is an opportunity for us to expedite all the logistics to make sure that at least this happens today. We all know that the health sector is overwhelmed, overwhelmed in a sense that they cannot do everything at the same time. If I give you my impression about the health sector they need assistance of this nature, or complementary activities of this nature. Because actually if you look at the population of the Gambia now, you look at the health services, all what they need to achieve at the same time, but I can register with confidence and evidence that the health sector in this country has improved.”
Muhammad Janneh, the secretary general of Bakau Development Committee, said the health screening is a collaboration between doctors from America led by doctor Naffie Ceesay and doctors under the Ministry of Health.
SG Janneh expressed gratitude to the doctor and her team, adding that giving back to the society is a great move. Mr. Janneh urged all the other philanthropists to follow the footsteps of Doctor Naffie and her team.
Kaddy Ceesay, a beneficiary, hailed the importance and benefits of the medical assistance while urging people to regularly exercise in order to prevent non communicable diseases.
Lang Sanneh, also a beneficiary, said he has been sick for a very longtime, so when he heard of the health screening he rushed there.
Amie Ceesay, another beneficiary, said the gesture came at the right time. “We all know medication is very expensive in this country. When I heard of this great news, I couldn’t waste any more time but to go and try my chance and I thank God that I am checked and I am given medication,” she said.