By Nelson Manneh
On Friday 30th April 2020, the Gambia registered its first local COVID-19 as a local contact case prompting the Ministry of Health to conduct random testing in that community.
The situation came about when a 27-year-old confirmed patient in Bakau Cape Point who has no travel history to any affected country, tested positive. She is currently isolated at a treatment facility. This also prompted the National Youth Council (NYC) to take the lead to sensitize the community of Bakau ahead of the random testing that the Ministry of Health is currently conducting in that community.
Lamin Darboe, the Executive Director of the NYC said the young people have been at the forefront in the fight against the pandemic, even when the Gambia did not register a single case; that young people are the majority in this country and if they are able to tap from their potentials, COVID-19 will soon become history in this country. Darboe said the NYC has embarked on numerous sensitization activities in the country and the one they are currently conducting in Bakau is house to house sanitization.
“The Ministry of Health will just tell us the community they want to go to conduct testing, sample collection or contact tracing and we will go to that community ahead of them, to conduct the house to house sensitization,” he said.
In Bakau, Darboe said they mobilized people from the community itself because they want to avoid inter-community transmission of the virus; that they first started with the distribution of hand washing buckets to border communities and now they are on the sensitization process; that currently they are putting in efforts by mobilizing youth organizations to strategize what next after COVID-19.
For the information of the reader, the Gambia has now recorded a total of seventeen COVID-19 confirmed cases, with nine patients who have recovered and registered one death. Seven are currently at the treatment facility.