Worldwide, COVID-19 has overwhelmed the health systems and caused widespread social and economic disruptions. The WHO and The Republic of Korea are the latest to handover donations of lifesaving equipment and Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test kits for COVID-19 response. The materials were officially handed over to Honourable Dr Ahmadou Lamin Samateh, Minister of Health (MOH) by WHO Representative, Dr Desta Tiruneh on 26 April 2021.
The materials donations include; PCR test kits from The Republic of Korea (worth USD 200,000) and lifesaving ventilators from WHO, (worth over USD100,000). Additionally, 25 boxes of reagents for reference samples from the West African Health Organisation (worth $3,700) were also handed over.
The entire value of donated goods exceeds fifteen million and seven hundred thousand Dalasis (GMD 15.7 million).
The test kits are important for timely and accurate diagnosis of COVID-19. Testing is the first critical step in identification and isolation of cases and quarantining contacts, which paves the way for successful containment of the spread of COVID19 and mitigates its adverse impact.
The ventilators with the accessories such as air compressors and spare parts will go a long way in improving the management of critical COVID-19 patients in intensive care and saving lives.
Well before and until the official pronouncement of COVID-19 outbreak in The Gambia in March 2020, WHO has been in the forefront in providing the necessary technical support and guidance to the Republic of The Gambia. WHO closely supported the Government in mobilizing and engaging partners in support of COVID-19 preparedness and response efforts.
The Hon Minister of Heath, Dr Ahmadou Lamin Samateh expressed his gratitude to The Republic of Korea and WHO, and West African Health Organisation for the kind and timely donations.
“We say thank you to WHO, Republic of Korea and West African Health Organisation. The materials will go a long way to ensure early detection and management of COVID-19. Our partners seen that their support and resources are important to the people of The Gambia and they are very vigilant to see judicious use of all donated resources and we are ready to do so,” said Dr Ahmadou Lamin Samateh.
WHO Representative, Dr Desta Tiruneh, indicated that the donated equipment and COVID-19 test kits mark is yet another positive step in supporting The Gambia’s effort in combating the pandemic. “The donations are not the first. WHO has received donations from The Republic of Korea dating from the beginning of the pandemic and we are very grateful for exemplary solidarity.” Dr Desta Tiruneh added, “The continued support to the Ministry of Health demonstrates our long-standing partnership and collaboration with the government to fight the COVID-19 pandemic. More than ever before, the WHO is committed to supporting the government to stem the tide against COVID-19.”
Dr Desta Tiruneh extended his gratitude to all countries, organizations and philanthropists (in The Gambia and Globally) who should showed strong solidarity to fund the efforts of the World Health Organization, which in turn enabled the organization to render much needed support to Member States around the world. He added, “WHO, together with UN Agencies and other developments partners will support the Government of The Gambia in the COVID-19 response.”
The WHO urges continued use of public health measures such as maintaining social distance; proper hand hygiene; and wearing of facemasks. All eligible people should be vaccinated against COVID-19, free of charge at nearest health centres, countrywide. The vaccines are safe and effective and are complementary interventions that should be taken together with the preventive public health measures.