The World Health Organization (WHO) handed over medical supplies to Ministry Health of The Gambia, at Central Medical Stores, Banjul on the 16th March, 2021.
The medical supplies donated on the day includes 20, 000 Viral Transport Mediums (VTMs), 10 000 Antigen-Rapid Diagnostic Tools (Ag-RDTs), Patient Monitors and other essential equipment and supplies needed for critical care.
WHO’s Representative, Dr Desta Tiruneh made the official hand over of the medical supplies. On the launch alone, WHO handed items worth USD157 000 to MOH. This is in addition to other items handed to the government since onset of the pandemic in April 2020.
“These supplies are just a small portion of several consignments already handed over to Ministry since April 2020, unofficially due to the pressing need at the time,” said Dr Desta Tiruneh.
“All in all, the medical and laboratory supplies and equipment handed over to Ministry of Health to date is worth USD 1million. These items included, laboratory equipment and supplies (test kits, reagents and consumable), Personal Protective Equipment (PPE such as gloves, overalls, masks, face shields) and essential medicines etc, meant to support COVID-19 response,” added Dr Desta Tiruneh.
Minister of Health, Honourable Dr Amadou Lamin Samateh indicated the lifesaving supplies will help in the diagnosis and management of COVID-19 in The Gambia.
“We are very happy to receive the test kits because we can diagnose cases of COVID-19 faster and patients’ waiting time will be reduced significantly. We also say thank you to WHO for bringing the Oxygen Monitoring equipment, which will greatly improve critical care” said Dr Amadou Lamin Samateh.
The Honourable Minister of Health commended WHO’s for unwavering commitment during COVID-19 pandemic. “We started the COVID-19 response together with WHO. We put in place guidelines that are in line with WHO recommendations and that partnership is working well,” said Dr Amadou Lamin Samateh.
The Director-National Pharmaceutical Services, Mr Babanding Sabbally acknowledged WHO and partners, indicating The Gambia hasn’t run out of PPE since the onset of the outbreak.
“I thank WHO for technical and material support to fight COVID-19. From the start of the COVID-19 pandemic we have not had any stockout of personal protective equipment (PPE) due to strong partnerships, which include that of the WHO,” said Mr Babanding Sabbally.
Media people attended the official handover ceremony. Their questions around Astra-Zeneca vaccine were also addressed by the Minister. He reaffirmed that the vaccine is safe and effective.
“We go by international guidelines and WHO is the custodian. The benefits of Astra-Zeneca out-weight the risk, we will continue with the COVID19 vaccination” said Dr Amadou Lamin Samateh.
Beyond the COVID-19 vaccine the public is urged to continue practising physical distancing, consistent handwashing with soap or use of hand sanitisers and to always wear facemasks.