By Omar Bah
President Adama Barrow yesterday laid the foundation stone of Horizons Clinic, the first clinic purposely built in the Tourism Development Area to serve not only Gambians but tourists.
The project is worth 27 million dollars situated on the Senegambia Trip opposite Djembe Beach Hotel.
Designed to meet international standard the hospital is supported by renowned Gambian medical surgeon, Professor James N’Dow, who founded the initiative through the financial backing of the African Development Bank, Islamic Bank among others.
In his keynote address, the Gambian leader said the new hospital is part of his government’s private sector partnership policy, “which when completed will improve the health service delivery of the country and great benefit to the people of The Gambia both in services and employment opportunities.”
The President said the venture will no doubt radically improve the quality of health services, facilities and structures for patients as well as staff, “both in the immediate future and years to come.”
“This will be transformational given that our health system is grossly underfunded and greatly challenged not only by usual communicable diseases but also lack of investment with its negative health implication for sustainable economic development,” he said.
The Gambian leader further stressed government has clear strategies to address these challenges, “therefore formulating and creating the right policies and the enabling environment respectfully for private sector engagement is critical.”
Barrow went further to say the need for accessible and quality maternal health care cannot be overemphasized. “Once this new health facility of international standard is completed we will no longer have the cause to travel overseas for medical treatments.”
The founder of Horizons Professor James N’Dow said the coming-up of the hospital was triggered sixteen years ago when he first visited the Edward Francis Small Teaching Hospital (formerly Royal Victoria Hospital) to witness the suffering Gambian women endure when giving birth.
“This brings me close to my vacation as a professional doctor and indeed cemented my passion for voluntarism returning to The Gambia to work charitably year by year. However by 2007 I realised that charity was not the solution for our health sector challenges,” he said.
He said it is against that backdrop that the concept of Horizons was born and from that moment onward he was always confident that they will witness such a laudable achievement.
Meanwhile, the minister of tourism Hamat Bah said the importance of what will be the first ever-medical facility in the tourist industry cannot be overemphasised.
“This particular project is therefore very timely and couldn’t have appeared at a better time. The project will also undoubtedly provide much needed jobs to hundreds of Gambians,” he concluded.