President Adama Barrow is facing mounting pressure to show leadership and address the nation as the coronavirus pandemic ravages the country. 

As the country’s coronavirus cases passed the 1000 mark and the death toll continues to rise, worried Gambians want reassurance from the president that his government is doing everything to control the pandemic. 

Now a coalition of civic groups and frontline health workers has given President Adama Barrow a 72 hour ultimatum to address the nation. 

The civic groups have laid down in an open letter to the president 10 demands over the full blown health crisis the country is facing. 

“We urge you to face the nation, and speak to us, within the next 72 hours, as to the next steps to be taken by your government in dealing with this stage of the pandemic, as well as steps being taken to address our urgent requests below:

“It is inappropriate, and unacceptable to leave such a responsibility of steering such a response to your spokespersons.

“We request a report from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to why he handed over the PPEs to the office of the first lady and what she did with the PPEs, and evidence of who she gave these PPEs to, as well as who involved.

“We request a full medical package to be accorded to front line workers, and any healthcare worker that contracts COVID-19 the in the line of duty.

“There should be basic medication available at treatment facilities for front line workers and a doctor should be attached to these facilities to attend to the health needs of healthcare workers while under treatment. 

A doctor should review each healthcare worker under treatment at least every two or three days and be provided with the required medication where necessary.

“Provision of daily allowance for front line health workers as well as equal payment for frontline workers be effected immediately.

“The ministry should have a distinct criteria of levels of risk, and categories of front line workers in its workforce.

“The ministry should communicate such criteria and categories to the frontline workers by making such criteria public.

“The ministry needs to rethink its modus operandi, and adopt best practices, to ensure optimal, effective and efficient deployment of the talent, abilities and experiences of health workers.

“We request the daily allowance of a minimum of D750 be paid to us.

“The MoH needs to provide adequate accommodation to frontline responders, especially those the are exposed to infected patients.”

The coalition group is comprised of Democratic Union of Gambian Activists (DUGA), Gambia Participates, Gambia Conference of Reforms and Democracy (GAMCORD), the Gambia Bar Restaurant and Night Club Association (G-BRANA), Right to Know (R2K) Gambia, the Association of Non-Governmental Organizations in the Gambia (TANGO), and Team Gom Sa Borpa and frontline workers. 

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