Dr Ahmadou Lamin Samateh, minister of Health, has called for a “strong and robust” health sector to meet the medical needs of the population. 

The minister made the statement at the handing over of medical equipment donated to his ministry by ECOWAS, UNDP, UN and TEAM EUROPE at the Medical Drugstore in Kotu. 

Dr Samateh said: “We need to have a robust health sector because a healthy population becomes the engine of development. 

“If people are healthy, they can go to the farms and farm more. They can go to the offices and be more productive. We certainly need a very robust health system in place.”

He added: “It makes sense to support the health sector. It actually makes sense to make sure the labs are functioning well. 

“It actually makes sense to make sure the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) is working well; and it actually makes sense to make sure that the emergency room is functioning well because we certainly do not know who the next person to need an ICU in this country is going to be.”

“We certainly do not know who the next person to visit the emergency room is going to be. That is why it makes sense to make sure that we have a strong, resilient, robust, responsive health system in the country,” he continued.

He said they have started the march of getting a robust health system but it has not been an easy one for them.

“As a government, we said yes this is what we found but we must do something about it and we have started doing something about it. We have started the renovation of health facilities across the length and breadth of this country.

“It is not an easy take because the resources are limited. We have started building capacities in the country; we have started a post-graduate programme in the Gambia whereby doctors are now going to be trained to consultant level and specialist level in surgery, internal medicine and family medicine.

“We have started the bachelor’s programme in nurse anaesthesia. We equally started the bachelor’s program in midwifery. We are training other middle-level nurses. We call them Community Health nurses (CHN) and State enrolled Nurses (SEN),” he said.

Reporting by Adama Makasuba

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