By: Kebba AF Touray
The National Assembly Select Committee on Health have conducted a two-day visit to the health facility and disaster hot spots. The visit aimed to equip the committee with firsthand information on the activities, successes and challenges facing the country’s health sector, starting with the Department of Social Welfare on day one.
The chairperson, Hon. Ousman Sillah, said the committee was performing its oversight functions of engaging state and none-state actors for the achievement of the common objective. He said as a state institution funded by the taxpayers money, it is important to ensure the judicious utilization of the taxes to the best interest of the people. He said the goal is to attain excellent, adequate and affordable service delivery in the health sector.
The subject matter specialist said social work in Africa is beset with cross cutting issues such as unemployment, housing, poverty, food insecurity, among others. He argued that addressing the root causes of the problems facing the welfare sector should be the direction that should be taken by both the National Assembly and the Government with a view to addressing them.
Mr. Sainey Camara, Senior Rehabilitation Technician, dilated on problems such as the lack of resources in the Department and low subventions from the government, the latest of which was in October 2017 when total subvention for the year was D600,000. This, he stressed, is hampering the operational functions of the Department of Welfare. He thumped up for their donor partners for their unflinching support to the Department, without which it could not carry out its functions.
Mariama Ceesay Jahateh, Head of the Child Support Unit, Danty J Keni Beyai, Senior Welfare Assistant and Gabou Jarjue, Principal Orthopedic Technologist, all highlighted similar constraints affecting their respective units and called on the government to intervene to ensure the smooth running of the Department.
The second day of the visit took the committee to disaster hot spots within the Kanifing Municipal Council. The entourage visited Sankung Sillah Junction and Bundung Borehole Disaster hot spots.
Ngange Jeng, Municipal Disaster Coordinator, said the spot is one of the disaster hotspots spots that should be properly projected or constructed, taking great care to ensure that the effective drainage, especially during the rainy season, can be done with ease.
He disclosed that Disaster Management in collaboration with KMC, NRA and NEA are planning a cleaning exercise, targeting the major drains within the Municipality, to ensure that the drainage systems are cleared of the waste dumped in the channels to allow the free flow of water.
Hon. Fatoumata Jawara, Member for Tallingding Kujang, said the visit is part of their oversight functions as the committee responsible for health and related issues in the Legislature. She implored the NDMA to go the extra mile in mapping out spots, for appropriate action to be taken before the start of the rainy season. She described the conditions of the Social Welfare as pathetic and revealed that they would engage the Health Ministry on that same day to shape the way forward for the Department.