By Maimuna Sey-Jawo
The Village Girl Initiative in collaboration with Global Hands over the weekend organised a day-long free medical treatment for the community of Manduarr Village in the West Coast Region (WCR).
About hundred patients were in attendance to receive the free medical treatment.
Speaking after the exercise, Dr. Ousman Bah medical officer at the Edward Francis Small Teaching Hospital, who also doubles as the programme coordinator of the Village Girl Initiative in The Gambia dwelled on the significance of the day-long exercise.
“We organise this free medical treatment in order to win the heart of inhabitants within the area, with a view to convincing them to stop practising the deep rooted cultural traditional practice FGM/C,” he noted, adding that the initiative started some years back by young Gambians with the aim of changing the mindset of Gambians, particularly those engaged in the longstanding cultural practice.
“We are not only focusing on health, but even education. We have a pilot project in Sanyang Village of which we are sponsoring some children. Our target is to ensure that the initiative reaches every Gambian and even beyond,” Dr. Bah noted.
According to him, they are also focusing on empowering women as already they have identified some projects, thus optimistic that they will start girls’ skills centre soon. “As a medical officer at EFSTH, we have seen lots of diseases that are complicated, like struck because of hypertension, struck because of diabetics and people will be coming unconscious because of diabetics. So we don’t want those people to reach us at our high facilities with that complication. We want to meet them in their localities in order to prevent those diseases,” he explained
Dr. Bah added that this year they are expecting low malaria cases as almost two million bed nets have been distributed across the country.
For his part, the Founder of Global Hands Dr. Momodou Sallah spoke at length on the significance of the exercise, saying that the idea of the free medical treatment is to ensure that health care is accessible to all regardless of economic and social status.
“The initiative is about taking health care to the people so that they could be diagnosed and medication will be prescribed for them so as to improve their health. The initiative is something that we intend to do in a regular basis. We will either bring expert from the country or outside The Gambia. Our main aim is to complement government’s efforts in its quest to provide quality health service delivery,” he stated.
Isatou Jaiteh, a beneficiary from the free medical treatment, commended the Village Girl Initiative with its partners for organising such a treatment, saying it will improve their health.