By Ndey Sowe
H.E. Corrado Pampaloni, the European Union (EU) Ambassador to The Gambia, has disclosed that they have disbursed around four billion dalasi (34 million euros), to support the Gambia Government’s response plan to Covid-19.
“Last year when the pandemic started, the European Union immediately front loaded and amplified its budget support operations to the country and disbursed around 4 billion dalasi within a few months, and this has been largely used to support the Government’s Covid-19 response plan,” H.E. Corrado Pampaloni said last Thursday 3rd June 2021, during the inauguration of Gambia Red Cross Society (GRCS) new ambulances, pickups and motor cycles, to support their response in Covid-19 operations.
The inauguration saw the handing over of two new ambulances, two pickups, eight motor cycles and sixty bicycles under the project “Support and Strengthen the Public Health and Socio-Economic system to reduce the impact of the Covid-19 Pandemic in The Gambia” dubbed ‘EU-Covid-19 Initiative Project’ to the authorities of the Gambia Red Cross Society (GRCS).
Ambassador Pampaloni further explained that it was quickly realized that they needed to jump into action to support the Ministry of Health with all their efforts and to mitigate the negative effects of the pandemic on the livelihoods of the Gambians right from the start, because Covid-19 is going to be a long struggle for everyone.
“We are happy to see the arrival of two fully equipped ambulances, which will have a paramount role in the continuous fight against Covid-19, but will also upgrade medical services in the country after the crisis,” he noted.
Ambassador Pampaloni further shared his optimism on the arrival of the two pick-up cars and eight motorbikes, in ensuring that people in smaller communities across the Gambia, will benefit from the EU Project; that this will build up long-term capacity of the GRCS beyond the pandemic period and will continue the important work conducted by volunteers on a daily basis.
Alasan Senghore, Secretary General of GRCS said they are in the most acute phase of the pandemic and that this will likely to continue for many months to come, particularly in places that are not well covered by vaccines.
“We have seen through our COVID-19 response that the pandemic has not progressed equally across the world and the numbers of reported cases and deaths do not tell the whole story,” he said.
Nonetheless, Senghor said vaccination has offered a glimmer of hope that there is light at the end of the tunnel. He however called for equitable delivery and distribution of vaccines.
“We must ensure that resources raised for COVID-19 response also contribute to a recovery that is green, inclusive and helps the most at-risk people, so that no one is left behind,” he said; that the EU has been and continues to be a reliable and supportive partner both in development and humanitarian assistance.