SA Jarjou

Are Reference is invited from the budget allocated to the Ministry of Health & Social Welfare at the tone of D955, 171,920. It is in that regard I write to register my total dissatisfaction beyond all human survival to the whole Members of Parliament from the Speaker to the Gate Man.

I am the least happy when I saw the MP’s tends to priotise other service in budgeting through the Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs. The 2017 budget allocated only 1.41% of the total budget to the health sector.

The amount allocated to the said Ministry is too small considering the confrontation increased demand beyond the treatment of AIDS, malaria, and other communicable diseases as access is still the greatest challenge to health care delivery in rural Gambia it’s not enough besides the Abuja Declaration requires 15 percent of national budget of which 5 percent is for Maternal &Child health.

The major challenge is the unstable human resource base, arising from high staff attrition. There is also a shortage of essential medicines and equipment for high-quality care. As most of the available medicine in the hospitals is Paracetamol (C8H9NO2).

During your various campaigns you promised the voters that you will provide them with the state of the earth medical and health facilities when you are voted in to office. But to my surprise such proposal is never implemented but ignored.

The Gambia, like many other countries in sub-Saharan Africa, has long been overburdened with maternal health problems. With a population of approximately 1.8 million, the densely populated West African nation has been ranked among the African countries with the highest levels of maternal mortality. The national maternal mortality ratio, which has fallen by 46% over the last 20 years, is estimated at 400 deaths per 100,000 live births

I submit to you that corruption diverts much-needed resources away from health care delivery and reduces patient access to quality services. Examples include medical staff in public sector health care institutions who sell drugs that should be free, and theft (for personal use) or diversion (for private sector resale) of drugs and supplies at government storage and distribution points.

People consume more fast food and packaged foods, which tend to have high levels of sodium; they engage in less physical activity, sitting in their cars and buses on their way to work; and they are more likely to consume alcohol in their leisure time. Another risk factor is an increase in smoking rates across populations.

The last time I checked most of the current focus of health care delivery in The Gambia is on traditional and visible factors like HIV and malaria. However, changes in lifestyle and a growing middle class are making no communicable diseases like cardiovascular disease, cancer, and diabetes big issues among populations. Prompt access to primary healthcare before onset of severe illness is vital to improve morbidity and mortality rates. The Gambia has high rates of child mortality and research is needed to investigate contributing factors further.

The provision of a safe water supply and good sanitation are major contributory factors to positive childcare. At present, Gambia’s is unable to provide clean water for all rural and urban areas. Of the total population, 80% still rely on the bush toilet for sanitation, and it is widely understood that diarrhoea diseases can be exacerbated in environments where sanitation is poor.

Is submit to you that the Gambia Health Sector is sinking like the mighty Titanic as a result of inadequate medical facilities and the human resources. We the poor voters take our families to the Government hospital without facilities while those of you at the peak whom we voted for, to protect and improve our health care conditions take your families to the private clinics. Health should be a priority of The Gambia Government as a healthy nation is a wealthy nation. Inaccessibility to health care is a violation of human right.

This saw a clear testimony that we leave in a country where our policy makers don’t have trust in our health care system they brought to us.

The Gambia’s public health sector is in crisis as the government fails to adequately fund it, leaving external donors and foreign countries to chip-in with chicken changes. We cannot achieve a free zone disease country until and unless we take in charge of our health care system and pump in the required resources to meet international standards.

The mere fact that the health care system is based on donor funds, people are dying of needless from preventable disease as donor funds may not be available when they are needed the most.

In conclusion I stand on top of Mountain Kilimanjaro and request for the MPs to scrap and revise the budget and ensure that the MOH&SW is given the right amount that can cater for the citizens.

To be continued……

By: Saidina Alieu Jarjou
Blogger/ Activist