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City of Banjul
Tuesday, September 22, 2020

What is going on?

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Dear editor,

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What’s going on? Within three days of the Barrow administration unveiling a Social Compact that includes a commitment to detribalise (political and) executive office, the services of a culturally and ethnically diverse team of top executives at the Central Bank of the Gambia (CBG) were prematurely terminated and a new team from a homogenous ethic background installed.

To some, perhaps many I may appear bias if I admit companionable acquaintance with most members of the retired CBG team, and a stranger-to-stranger relationship with the new CBG senior team, but my personal relationship with incumbents does not detract from the irony and cultural insensitivity of the changes effected. What’s going on? Gambians deserve to know.

In my book, honorific titles such as “Excellency” and “Honourable”, “Lordship”, et cetera, bestowed on office-holders/duty-bearers on commencement of official functions, are expected to reflect their inner qualities and service to their community and humanity. In the long-haul, titles bestowed are truly earned or amount to flattery. Gambians voted for change, but not any change.

Instead of piecemeal, disorderly or chaotic system change, Gambians are still waiting to see a masterful demonstration of shrewd decision-making and statecraft in concept development and implementation of a 3 to 5-year development blue-print that gives hope to tens of thousands of Gambian families and individuals living in financial insecurity. What’s going on? Actions speak louder than words.

In continual receipt of support and goodwill from all quarters since Gambians voted for change.

I am beginning to wonder whether President Barrow’s cabinet and its high-ranking advisers are being wilfully blind and deaf to the conventional wisdom of our philosopher ancestors, and the wise and independent counsel of contemporary thinkers and analysts sharing their insights and experience in this paper and other news and opinion media, and worry a tremendous opportunity for pioneering and consolidating programmes for social progress is being properly harnessed.

What’s going on Team Barrow? Time and tide waits for no man. Show us some inspiring action. Ineptitude is the last thing we expect.

Remo R Jones
Banjul
Gambia health service delivery system: can it be better?

Dear editor,

Community Health Nurses, CHNs, and their partners; VHWs and CBCs are in the forefront of primary health care, PHC, which was introduced after the Alma Ata conference in 1978.

Countries in the World Health Assembly agreed that there should be universal primary health care for all in the year 2000. This was slightly achieved in the Gambia. CHNs collaborate with VHWs to maintain and respond to the health needs of individuals from the remotest farmstead; even in Kerr Gaggi.

I remember when my colleague Lamin Suwaneh used to do routine bimonthly visit of all PHC and Non PHC villages in Ndungu Kebbeh Catchment area, even in Kerr Pateh Jawo—home of one of my greatest grandfathers.
Secondly, Nurses be it CHNs, SRNs or SENs, are doing their best in the secondary level of the health service delivery.

My darling Sarata Ngack Sowe is doing well both in the OPD and Inpatient at Kaur Major Health Center. My brother Yankuba Balajo, who we used to call the CEO of Macca Balla Manneh outreach clinic in the outcast of the village. These people sacrifice a lot in harsh conditions just to serve their people and to maintain the standards of the secondary level of care.
Here comes the challenging level that covers all hospitals and Referral centers especially the Mother Of All Hospitals MOAH, EFSTH. These places have well trained personnel such as Dr. Bah, Dr Kitabu Jammeh, Dr Sanu Jarjusey, what they lack is equipment. Imagine passing courses such as Physiology, Histology, Biochemistry, Microbiology etc under the Cubans is a real struggle. Yet these people are doing tremendously well in their domain.

As my boss used to say; in the absence of what you want you take what you have. Gambian doctors have improvised enough.
What we need now is the Government’s better involvement in trying to equip our Tertiary level service delivery system to suit the general populace.
Thumbs up to all health workers, especially the nurses.

Ousman Bah
Fajikunda

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