By Nelson Manneh
The European Union together with the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), on Tuesday 29th June 2021 donated life-saving equipment to the Ministry of Health.
Isabell Blochl, Chargé d’Affaires of the German Embassy in the Gambia, said since the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic, both the European Union and the German Government have made extra funds available for regional and national responses, as contribution to the ECOWAS/WAHO emergency fund.
She said the Regional Program Support to Pandemic Prevention in the ECOWAS Region (RPPP) has been provided with EUR 10 million as support to response activities.
“As the recent Ebola outbreak in Guinea showed, effectively managing outbreaks of infectious disease is one of the great challenges of our time. These can only be solved collectively across nations, sectors and disciplines because infectious diseases know no borders. In the ECOWAS region, the German Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), has been active in supporting pandemic prevention measures since 2016, with the establishment of the Regional Program Support to Pandemic Prevention in the ECOWAS Region (RPPP). These support is aimed to build capacity for infectious disease outbreak prevention and response with the regional public health institutions and the corresponding entities in the 15 member states, by focusing on integrating the best health approaches in all support measures,” she said.
“When the German Federal Minister of Economic Cooperation and Development Dr. Gerd Müller visited the Gambia two weeks ago, he announced that the German Government will deploy further support to ECOWAS efforts to combat COVID-19 in the country,” she said; that Dr. Gerd Müller pledged an additional 10 million EUR for technical assistance activities and support for the procurement of goods, especially laboratory equipment and training of health workers; that Germany supports African partner countries in mitigating the effects of the CoVID-19 pandemic, but is already focusing on pandemic prevention (preventing and combating new pandemics), saying it is important to act now to prevent new pandemics and crises.
‘‘There will be a second mission of the German Pandemic Preparedness Team (SEEG) later this year that will focus on laboratory and epidemiological capacity building as a follow-up to the first mission this month. We are convinced that with this support of our technical experts and our contributions through ECOWAS and the West African Health Organization, The Gambia will not only be better prepared for the continued fight against COVID-19, but will be better prepared for other outbreaks of infectious diseases in the future,” she noted.
Dr. Ahmad Lamin Samateh, the Minister of Health who received the donated items on behalf of Government said the materials donated will help strengthen his Ministry.
“Looking at the items donated, they are not only life-saving equipment, but will also help health workers in their strife to provide health care services to patients,” he said.
Dr. Samateh said since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, the Gambia Government has received lots of assistance from outside which helps the Government in its strife to better the health sector.