The donated items presented by the acting US ambassador to The Gambia, Michael Arietti, were made possible thanks to the American NGO, Benevolent Health Care Foundation. This NGO is one of the biggest non-profit organisations in the world that delivers medical supplies and equipment to developing countries. The items were received by the top brass of GAF medical unit.
The donated items include a wide range of equipment and supplies among them admission kits, IV Kits, casting supplies, nasal speculums, lab coats, gowns, goggles, gloves and bed linens. Speaking at the handing over ceremony, Charge d’Affaire, Michael Arietti expressed his hope that The Gambia Armed Forces will find the donated medical equipment items useful as “it continues to deliver health care to its members, their families, and other communities in The Gambia”.
“Statistics show that the HIV prevalence rate in The Gambia’s general population is estimated at 2.0%, with approximately 18,000 people living with HIV. GAF members, however, are exposed when on peacekeeping missions in high prevalence countries,” Mr Arietti told the gathering attended by other top brass of the GAF as well as officials from the US embassies in Dakar and Banjul.
He noted: “The US Department of Defence’s HIV/AIDS Prevention Programme (DHAPP) has been working with the GAF to continue expanding its prevention and testing programme. Over the past three years, DHAPP has built strong partnership with GAF, the National AIDS Secretariat, and the National Laboratory. Through these partnerships, DHAPP continues to accomplish its mission to increase awareness about, and reduce infection rates of HIV.”
The chief US diplomat further stated: “Through the partnership between DHAPP and Gambia Armed Forces, last year a total of 2,000 troops and their family members were reached with a comprehensive prevention messages through 24 sensitization sessions conducted at 13 different military installations, throughout the country. Targeted groups included 611 peacekeepers, 510 potential recruits and two peer health educators. We look forward to the continuing of this partnership between the US and The Gambia for years to come as we continue to carry on the fight against HIV/AIDS in West Africa and beyond,” he said.
A representative of the GAF chief of defence staff, Colonel Hina Sambou said the American Embassy had and continues to assist the Gambian army in training her personnel both in country and overseas.
Coonel Sambou said the Embassy has also partnered with GAF on several fronts, ranging from renovation of GAF medical facilities, military exercises and operations in the maritime domain and onshore, adding, “the two have collaborated in multinational exercises and many areas of mutual benefits.”
He assured that the donated medical items will be used in the diagnosis, cure, mitigation, treatment and prevention of diseases, and that they will strengthen health care delivery in GAF, GAF family members and to those immediate communities they serve.
Colonel Sambou said the items will go a long way in strengthening government’s efforts and desire to ensure a healthy and capable nation while imploring GAF medical service personnel to run an efficient medical store and equipment accounting and management system.
“We must ensure that there is adequate records keeping especially in updating ledger and dispensing books. We must remember that poor management of medicines and medical supplies may result to the fluctuation in availability of those vital commodities,” Colonel Sambou, the head of GAF’s logistics and administration said.
Major Seedy Touray, chief medical officer of GAF medical service said the donated medical items will build up the capacities of GAF medical service and complement command efforts in providing quality and accessible health care to GAF members, their families and by extension, civilian population.
Major Touray commended the US Embassy and Benevolent Health Care Foundation for the timely donation whileexpressing his hope that the partnership between the three will be further strengthened. According to officials, another container loaded with military equipment will soon arrive for the Gambia Armed Forces.
Author: Sainey Marenah]]>