Minister Samateh Says Government Will Support All Health Care Workers Affected by COVID-19


By Nelson Manneh

Dr. Ahmadou Lamin Samateh, the Minister of Health said Friday any health care worker affected by COVID-19 will receive support from the Government.

He said: “We assure all health workers that the government of The Gambia stands by them during these trying times. The Government and the people of this country appreciate their hard work, dedication and commitment to the service of our nation. All affected healthcare workers will receive full support from the government.”

He also added the Government is working on a package to support the family of a healthcare worker who died of COVID-19 related illness.

The Minister said the package cannot in any way replace the life lost, but is meant to support the family.

Samateh said his Ministry has since early March put in measures to ensure the slow progression of COVID-19 in The Gambia. He said these interventions they believe have moved the peak which was initially projected to be in mid May 2020 to late July 2020.

The Minister said the first COVID-19 death was a Bangladeshi man who visited The Gambia with friends. The second was a Gambian who returned from Senegal.

“Last week, we announced the passing away of the third COVID-19 patient in this country, who happened to be one of us,” he said.

He said the 50-year-old nurse was working as a frontline in one of the hospitals.

“He dedicated his life to the services of humanity and was there caring for patients who needed help before he succumbed to COVID-19. This news has saddened the entire Ministry of Health and the Government as a whole,” he said.

The Health Minister said they extend their sincere condolences to his family, colleagues and friends with whom they have been in contact with.

He said they are touched by their strong faith in Allah and their forbearance.

“We assure them that their father, colleague, friend was a gallant son of this country who sacrificed immensely for this country. His sacrifice will never go in vain,” he said.

The Minister continued: “He was my own personal friend and colleague, with whom we enjoyed work. He was an easy going-man who respected every individual, who spoke to the patients in a way that soothed them even as they experienced pain from their diseases.”

“We pray that Allah grant him ‘Jannatul Firdaus’. He will surely be missed by all of us,” he said.

He added: “To his wife and children, we say to you, that Dad was a Hero that you should all be proud of. We also assure you that all of us in the Health care fraternity will always stand by you. The government of The Gambia will always stand by you,” Minister Samateh noted.

Minister Samateh said the country needs the healthcare workers today and they have no other choice but to respond and stand for their people.

Readers could recall that the senior Nurse who died of COVID-19 related health issues was working at the Edward Francis Small Teaching Hospital in Banjul.

He had an underlying health condition – a known diabetic – he also had severe pneumonia-like symptoms.

A sample of the deceased was only collected from him after his demise on the 4th July 2020 and a positive test result returned on 5th July 2020.