By: Kebba AF Touray
Gambia’s Health Minister Dr. Ahmad Samateh, on Saturday took delivery of some donation of COVID-19 preventive and testing medical items from Chinese billionaire, Jack Ma. The Ethiopian Airline flight that brought the items, landed on Gambian soil on Saturday 28th March 2020. The assistance from Jack Ma and his Alibaba Foundation, will strengthen the efforts of the Government through the Health Ministry, to prevent the further spread of the pandemic in the country.
The items include 20,000 testing kits, 100,000 face masks and protective gears to effectively fight against the pandemic. The move is in line with the continental donation towards the implementation of the Africa Joint Continental Strategy for COVID-19 led by the African Union through the Africa Centre for Disease Control.
The items were received at the foot of the aircraft in the presence of Gambian Authorities and the Chinese Ambassador to the Gambia, His Excellency Ma Jianchum, and the WHO and WFP country representatives.
His Excellency Ma Jianchum explained that the donation from China is aimed at providing and responding to the urgent medical aid to the African continent and to equip the Gambia in particular, to effectively fight against COVID-19.
“China and Gambia are friends and reliable partners. At the moment, the coronavirus has already hit the Gambia. I would like to express our sympathy, support and solidarity with the Gambia Government and the Gambian people. The donation came from two Foundations in China; the Jack Ma and Ali Baba Foundations. These items include 100, 000 face masks; 20, 000 testing kits and 1,000 protective clothing. These supplies represent sincere friendship from the Chinese people to The Gambian people,” he said.
Ms. Wanja Kaaria, the Country representative of the World Food Program (WFP) said cooperation is pivotal in the fight against the disease and as such challenged the citizenry to strictly adhere to the preventive measures so as to avert its spread.
Dr. Desta Tiruneh, Country Representative of the World Health Organization (WHO) said the donation was in response to the COVID-19 pandemic in the county and the continent at large; that the support was directed to the African Union, Africa Centre for Disease Control and Prevention and in collaboration with other partners, to ensure its timely delivery to the Gambia and assured that WHO and the Gambia, will continue to respond to the pandemic, to achieve the purpose for which the assistance has been given.
“The test kits and other materials received will go a long way in the fight against COVID 19 locally. The fight against COVID-19 is a global fight. We are all together and this is why we are here today. Multiple stakeholders are putting together their resources and everything for the same cause of the global threat to humanity. This donation is an excellent demonstration of solidarity,” he concludes.
Gambia Health Minister Dr. Ahmad Samateh hailed the two Foundations for their timely support to the country; that the equipment will be used to deal with cases in the most effective manner and will reposition the country in the struggle to combat COVID-19.
The brief ceremony was moderated by Momodou Njie, Director of Health Promotion.