CHF 119,220 has been allocated from the IFRC’s Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF) to support the Gambia Red Cross Society in delivering immediate assistance to some 30,000 persons travelling in and out of Senegal. Unearmarked funds to repay DREF are encouraged.
Summary: The Government of the Gambia, through the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare, sent out a press release on 6th January 2012 through the media on the current situation of the cholera outbreak in neighbouring Senegal, where 10 cases are said to have been confirmed. The Ministry warned those travelling to Senegal for the Magal Muslim feast in the Senegalese town of Touba to take note of the cholera outbreak and to take preventive measures.
The feast, commencing on 12 January 2012, attracts tens of thousands of people. Food and water during the period are taken at common public places, and this practice will increase the risk of contraction and spread of the disease among the population. The release also put a very strong advice on drinking clean water and eating well-cooked food. Secondly, the Gambia is surrounded by Senegal and people move in and out of the country daily. The Gambia will therefore be exposed to high risk of cholera outbreak, particularly as pilgrims return from Senegal.
Meanwhile, preparing the nation for any eventuality of cholera spread, the Ministry invited stakeholders for a meeting on 6 January, which focused on preparedness, prevention, and response. The actions identified at the meeting included installation of a surveillance system for all border crossing points and the weekly market, along with sensitization, preparedness and response activities.
To support the efforts of the government in addressing prevention and averting the possibility of an imminent crisis, the National Society, through this DREF operation, plans the following strategies:
Coordination with Government of the Gambia and the Senegalese Red Cross Society monitoring and responding as the diseases directs.
Sensitization of the general public on cholera, personal hygiene and hand washing.
Distribution of detergent soaps and clean drinking water.
Support the government of the Gambia on a surveillance system and transportation of any suspected case at border points and open markets to the nearest health facility.
This operation is expected to be implemented over 3 months, and will therefore be completed by April 2012. A Final Report will be made available three months after the end of the operation (by July, 2012).