BANJUL, Saturday, 28 March 2020: The Gambia, this afternoon, received an assortment of medical supplies - 20, 000 test kits, 1000, 000 masks, 740 sets of protective clothing and 1000 sets of protective shields – as donation from Jack Ma and Alibaba Foundations from China. The items are part of a continent-wide gesture from the Foundations to support 54 African countries with 1.1 million test kits, 5.4 million masks, 40, 000 sets of protective clothing and 60,000 sets of protective shields to strengthen Africa’s response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Thanks to the partnership among the African Union, Africa Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, the World Health Organization, the World Food Programme, Ethiopian Airlines and the Prime Minister of Ethiopia, these much-needed items were safely dispatched to and received by the Gambia at this “trying moment” when the country’s health system needs to be strengthened to contain the COVID-19 outbreak.
Handing over the items to the Hon- Minister of Health (Dr Ahmadou Lamin Samateh), the WHO Representative, Dr Desta Tiruneh, descried the items as timely and hoped they would go a long way in bridging some of the capacity gaps in containing the pandemic. He assured the Minister of the United Nations’ resolve to supporting the Gambia in containing COVID-19 outbreak.
The WFP Representative and Chinese Ambassador to the Gambia also echoed similar sentiments, pledging their support to fight the outbreak.
For his part, the Hon Minister of Health thanked WHO for its leadership and support in ensuring that the country is well guided and efforts well-coordinated in response to COVOD-19 outbreak. He also extended his gratitude to the Jack Ma and Alibaba Foundations and all the partners involved in safe delivery of these items to the Gambia.
Indeed, these items are very timely given the fact the Gambia has so far reported 3 confirmed COVID-19 cases with one death, and 138 people being followed up through contact tracing.