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|T O P I C R E V I E W
||Posted - 07 Mar 2018 : 15:42:37
Doctors demand Health minister’s resignation
The Point: Wednesday, March 07, 2018
The Association of Resident Doctors – The Gambia (GARD) is demanding the resignation of the minister of Health and Social Welfare, Saffie Lowe-Ceesay within 48 hours.
This is in relation to the comments she made at a press conference on the sidelines of the Conference and Scientific Meeting of West African College of Surgeons at the Kairaba Beach Hotel in February.
The Standard first reported the Health minister as saying that developing The Gambia’s Health Sector is held back by corruption and unpatriotic doctors.
“When you talk about corruption in the Health system we all know how it is... these young doctors that will just go and practice pharmaceutics, some of them have opened their own pharmacies with the resources that we have. I am very sure of what I am saying because I was the PS,” she was quoted by the Standard during a press conference.
GARD is also demanding that the minister retracts her statement, apologies to the entire medical and health fraternity.
The association said if the demands are not met, they will resort to a sit down strike.
GARD is a representative body of all resident doctors with a current membership of 191 countrywide.
Delivering a statement on behalf of GARD at the Conference Hall of the Edward Francis Small Teaching Hospital in Banjul on Tuesday, Dr. Ebrima Bah, president of GARD said: “We unreservedly condemn in the strongest possible terms, these defamatory remarks and find them very disappointing without justification.”
He explains; “we understand, following subventions from the Ministry, whether adequate or not for a budget proposal, drugs are procured and stored at the Central Medical Stores from where distribution is done to the various government hospitals and other health facilities on a quarterly basis and sometimes on demand.
He said at the health facilities, drugs are entirely under the control of the Pharmacy head of department.”
“Dispensing of these drugs is done from pharmacies following a Medical Door’s prescription per diagnosis made, either for out-patient cases or administration within the wards for in-patients depending on the treatment plan.”
“If the minister does not understand these basics from budgeting, drug procurement down to dispensing, then it shows her incompetence at her job. Unless she is deliberately scapegoating, knowing where the problem truly lies,” he said before a chanting crowd: ‘She Must Go!’
Dr. Bah said the doctors understand that The Gambia is a resource limited country and therefore, it is the responsibility of the minister and her administration to prepare proper and comprehensive budget proposals for the Health Sector and also ensure a wise and transparent allocation is done in all health areas.
“However, we expect inefficiency in such the ministry is administratively challenged. Hence a total restructuring, with proper schemes and policies in place is required to rehabilitate our debilitating health system.”
Author: Alieu Ceesay
|8 L A T E S T R E P L I E S (Newest First)
||Posted - 17 Apr 2018 : 07:54:39
‘Major hospitals not affected by doctors’ strike’
The Point: Monday, April 16, 2018
The ongoing strike of The Gambia Resident Doctors (GARD) is not affecting the major hospitals in the country especially the Edward Francis Teaching Hospital (EFSTH) and Serekunda General Hospital, according to the management of both hospitals.
This development was affirmed during an interview with The Point’s Arfang M.S. Camara by the management of the EFSTH and Serekunda General Hospital.
The chief executive officer of the Serekunda General Hospital, Kebba Manneh, has stated that the GARD strike did not affect the hospital because they have put in a contingency plan. He added that they also have Cuban doctors as well as nurses who stepped in while doctors keep striking.
“We also have support from the doctors of The Gambia Armed and Police Force who were deployed to us, but it later coincided with their travelling to Darfur,” he said, adding that so far they have managed to ensure that services are continued with or without the striking doctors.
He called on the Ministry of Health and GARD to come to the table and have a dialogue, adding that this issue should not even have led to strike.
Baboucarr Saine, administrator of Serekunda General Hospital said that their hospital doctors are not part of the strike this time.
“Our doctors now stopped the strike and are now coming back to work. The doctors of Serekunda General Hospital have the Gambian interest at heart,” he said.
He finally went on to advise both parties (MoH&SW and GARD) to have a dialogue to arrest the situation, adding that they should both look at the interest of the patient and come with a solution.
Momodou Lamin Jammeh, PRO Edward Francis Small Teaching Hospital stated that the main referral hospital was not affected by the GARD strike.
He said acknowledged that the emergency services were not affected but the clinic was, disclosing that the 50 consultants and senior nurses are taking care of the services of the hospital.
Ebrima Jarra, a patient who was at the hospital at the time, stated that the doctors are failing in their profession, adding that they don’t have the Gambian people at heart
Binta Marong, also a patient, blamed the doctors for being very unprofessional in their conduct.
Another Gambian, Foday Ceesay, said that doctors are not fair to the Gambian people.
Author: Arfang M.S. Camara
||Posted - 23 Mar 2018 : 13:25:47
TANGO Press Statement
23rd March 2018
TANGO Meets Gambia Association of Resident Doctors
Thursday, 22 March 2018 - The Chairperson of TANGO John Charles Njie held a meeting with members of the Gambia Association of Resident Doctors led by their president Dr. Ebrima Bah on Thursday March 22 to seek possible ways of resolving the on-going impasse between the Association and the Government. In welcoming the members to TANGO head office in Fajara, Mr. Njie expressed the concern of TANGO on the on-going sit-down strike by doctors and TANGO's commitment to finding a lasting solution to the issue. He said TANGO has decided to engage the doctors directly in order to obtain first-hand information about the situation and thereby determine possible ways of intervention.
The doctors informed TANGO that the sit-down strike was not about their ego or in disregard of their oath to serve the sick and the country. Rather they embarked on this action purposely to push for institutional and operational reforms within the health delivery system which has been in dire conditions for years. They noted that as soon as Pres. Barrow took office, the Medical and Dental Association had written to him in March 2017 to express the challenges and offer suggestions for improvements within the health system. The doctors noted that they had also engaged the Minister of Health and Social Welfare early in her appointment with concrete suggestions for changes within the health delivery system. Yet for over one year there has been no changes only to have the Minister now falsely accuse young doctors, without basis, for corruption in the health sector. The doctors lamented the misinformed comments of the Minister which they noted has the potential to damage the trust between doctors and patients.
Since the outbreak of their strike, they narrated that they had separate meetings with the parliamentary Select Committee on Health, the Secretary General and Head of civil Service as well as the Vice President. The Vice President promised that by the end of the day Wednesday March 21 there will be a proper apology and from there they will wait to hear from the Doctors. The doctors noted that contrary to public perception, they are not affected by egotistic considerations, rather they are compelled to take action because of the misleading comments of the Minister against the backdrop of the pending reforms that they have been seeking since the coming to power of the new government and the appointment of the Minister of Health to no avail. They noted that while everyone is at home, it is doctors who stay up the whole night taking care of the sick yet they lack the necessary tools to do proper diagnosis and the required medication in order to reduce the pain and save the lives of patients.
In response, Mr. Njie extended empathy to the doctors and all civil servants working under unfavourable conditions to deliver services to the nation and pledged TANGO's readiness to engage the relevant stakeholders to address the situation. The meeting expressed hope that the Vice President would succeed in obtaining a proper apology from the Minister which will be followed by constructive engagements on institutional reforms. The meeting agreed that doctors will end their strike on receipt of this apology and retraction of the Minister's unfortunate statement and a roadmap established by the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare for concrete institutional, administrative and operational reforms. Meantime TANGO will seek engagement with the relevant government institutions with a bid to addressing the issue which is fast becoming unbearable for the country.
||Posted - 20 Mar 2018 : 11:32:32
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Minister of the Interior
1 February 2017 – 10 November 2017
President Adama Barrow
Preceded by Momodou Alieu Bah
Succeeded by Habib Saihou Drammeh (1949)
Leader of the Gambia Moral Congress
Preceded by Party established
Political party Gambia Moral Congress
affiliations Coalition 2016
Mai Ahmad Fatty is a Gambian politician.
From 1 February to 10 November 2017 he was Minister of the Interior in President Adama Barrow's cabinet.
Since 2009 he is the leader of the Gambia Moral Congress (GMC).
From 2011 to November 2016 he had left Gambia, after being threatened following the 2011 presidential election.
The Point (the Gambia), Banjul, appointed Habib Saihou Drammeh as Minister of the Interior, on Monday, 4 December 2017. 
Sacked Interior Minister Mai Fatty Not Under Corruption Investigation, jollofnews, Senegambia Confederation November 14th 2017, 
"Barrow swears in new cabinet, one coalition party missing". The Point. 2 February 2017. Retrieved 9 March 2017.
"Mai Ahmad Fatty returns to Gambia from exile". SMBC News. 6 November 2016. Retrieved 9 March 2017.
||Posted - 20 Mar 2018 : 11:27:21
Mai Ahmad Fatty is certainly coming to the fore with another posting in the media.
Monday, March 19, 2018
Mai Ahmad Fatty, the secretary general for The Gambia Moral Congress (GMC) in a press conference on Sunday said patients’ situations are aggravating and are dying because of the actions of those doctors on strike.
“We understand from the media that the medical profession was in rage by certain remarks made by the minister of Health”, he said. “These remarks have not killed anybody. But the industrial actions of some of the medical doctors is costing lives,” Mr. Fatty said.
He said this is prejudicial to the health of the nation and is causing serious difficulties for the patients across the health facilities and therefore urged the medical professionals especially those on strike to continue to dialogue with the authorities and return to the hospitals and the health centres to attend to their patients, saying at the end of the day they should respect their oath of office.
“At the end of the day what is more fundamental and paramount for medical practitioners is the hypocritic oath – the oath to save lives under all difficulties”, he said. “And we have seen this oath time and again from time immemorial medical doctors saving lives even in combat situations even attending to enemy combatants in order to save lives”
He said Gambian people should be development focus within the confines of human rights approach, noting it is important for people to express their rights hence they are provided by the constitution and cannot be taken by any government. He was, however, quick to say that these rights should be exercised responsibly and the public interest should supersede all else.
“We should exercise these rights responsibly in the public interest. When a public interest conflicts with personal interest or sectional interest, it is the public interest that should prevail” he said. “Currently public interest will be better served when patients are attended to by doctors and when our health facilities continue to function by our health practitioners,” the former Interior minister said.
Mr. Fatty said while they are not attending to patients in public health facilities, it is untrue that they are on strike because they are certainly the same doctors attending to private citizens who have the money to pay the services of private doctors in private health care facilities which he described as “discrimination, distinction, unfair and unjust”.
“It is a premise that under certain circumstances only the wealthy and the well to do can have uninterrupted access to medical care. I think this is unethical, we do not want to know the brouhaha between the doctors and the government, what we care about is Gambian citizens who are dying, who have no other alternative than to go to public hospitals”.
He urged Gambians to be honest and also urged both parties to exercise restraint in the national interest so that the country can continue to grow in consistent in the manner with the aspiration of its citizens.
Author: Sankulleh Gibril Janko
||Posted - 19 Mar 2018 : 12:17:02
Building The New Gambia
By Madi Jobarteh
Doctors Have a Right to Protest! I Support Them!!
Let me state at the outset that I stand with members of the Medical and Dental Association and the Gambia Association of Resident Doctors in their current action to demand the resignation of the Minister of Health and Social Welfare and the addressing of pertinent issues in our healthcare delivery system. The strike by these doctors is in the interest of the sick and all Gambians in general. It is not until these doctors went on strike that we have seen the Gambia Government now speak a language of solving the issues in the health sector. Thus without this action it is clear that the Government will take a long-time, if ever at all to focus on and address the issues in our health system.
Therefore Gambians in general and the Secretary General and Head of the Civil Service in particular must stop misrepresenting, intimidating and blackmailing these doctors by appealing to lower sensibilities that patients will suffer or die because of the strike. These doctors and their strike are not the cause of pain, suffering and death of patients in our health facilities. Our health system has been in shambles since the first republic and no government has ever taken any serious attempt to ensure that Gambians enjoy an efficient, quality and responsive health delivery service. These doctors want to change that now! SUPPORT THEM!
After 53 years of Independence, infant and maternal morbidity and mortality remain unacceptably high. Scores of Gambian children die before their fifth birthday due to preventable diseases. Many more Gambians are forced to go to Senegal or beyond to seek basic medical attention because of lack of necessary drugs and equipment in our health facilities. Yet we have had governments since Independence that still cannot address our health needs due to corruption, inefficiency and lack of patriotism and vision.
For 30 years Dawda Jawara presided over one of the worst healthcare delivery systems in the world. For 22 years Yaya Jammeh did not only embark on further damaging that already deplorable healthcare system but he went even further to interfere with that poor system just to benefit only himself thus further damaging the right to health of Gambians. For 14 months since he took over Pres. Barrow has not yet taken any concrete step towards addressing the dire conditions in our healthcare system.
This strike by the doctors is therefore in the interest of the ordinary Gambian and all must stand with them to ensure that there is strategic and adequate leadership, adequate investment and accountability in the healthcare system that will bring a final solution. Under Yaya Jammeh no doctor would have dared to strike because that regime would clampdown on that doctor. Now that we have kicked out that dictatorship, we must realise that until we agitate for our rights and demand accountability in the public sector this country shall not change. We must agitate now and not later!
Contrary to the views of the Secretary General that the doctors do not have a right to strike because they are civil servants, let it be clear to Mr. Habib Drammeh that the Constitution of the Gambia guarantees the right of all citizens to peaceful association, assembly and protest. Hence as citizens, these doctors have a right to protest.
The protest by these doctors must not be disingenuously misinterpreted as political just to discredit them as the Secretary General attempted to do on GRTS Radio’s morning show today. These doctors are protesting to address the perennial corruption, leadership deficiency and lack of government responsibility in the healthcare system. Hence this strike is in the right direction to change once and for all the abysmal status quo in our hospitals and health facilities.
Thanks to this strike, the Gambia Government has now been awakened to look more critically at the issues in the health sector with a view to addressing them. If there was no strike, it is very clear that the health sector will be left to continue to fester as always since Independence.
Gambians must realise that politicians and public officers will always seek to stifle, derail, mislead, distort, caricature and intimidate citizens when those citizens have decided to stand up to demand transparency and accountability. In their attempt to protect their power, positions and privileges, politicians and public officers always seek to divert the issue in order to undermine and weaken genuine people standing up for genuine issues. We must not allow that ever again!
These doctors are responsible and genuine Gambians. Anyone who visits our health facilities and encounters our Gambian doctors knows that these young doctors are dedicated, hardworking and impressive. They are not irresponsible bunch of fools. They are patriots. Therefore let no one impugn their person, dignity, character and their role. These doctors have embarked on a life changing mission and all Gambians must support them.
It is only through actions like this that will force politicians and public officers at the State House, National Assembly and the Ministry of Health to act in the interest of the people. Without such actions, these politicians and public officers will only continue to give the same excuses and rhetoric as Dawda Jawara and Yaya Jammeh had always done only to see more Gambians dying from preventable diseases due to poor health delivery system. This must stop.
For the Gambia, Our Homeland!
||Posted - 15 Mar 2018 : 08:21:54
She is one of those "square pegs in a round hole" according to information.
Lack of medicines should not be blamed on Doctors specially at an International conference. She was the then permanent secretary of Health and now minister of Health. She couldn't even advice a proper budget for her ministry.
I support the demand for her resignation and a more competent person to take over this very inportant sector.
||Posted - 14 Mar 2018 : 19:03:50
It does appear to me that Hospital Pharmacies are frequently out of stock of many items , patients or their relatives are often advised to go to a pharmacy outside the hospital to buy their medications,it is a little unfair to blame to doctors for the lack of medicines in hospital pharmacies,
The doctors job is to care for his or her patient,NOT to ensure that the hospital pharmacy has drugs or other medical requirements.
||Posted - 14 Mar 2018 : 13:46:28
Health minister apologises
The Point: Wednesday, March 14, 2018
The minister of Health and Social Welfare has apologised over comments she had made last month, accusing doctors of corruption – comments that generated widespread condemnation.
The Standard first reported the Health Minister Saffie Lowe-Ceesay as saying that efforts in developing Gambia’s Health Sector are held back by corrupt and unpatriotic doctors.
“When we talk about corruption in the health system, we all know how it is. These young doctors will just go and practice pharmaceuticals and some of them will open pharmacies with the resources that we have. I am very sure of what I am saying because I was the PS,” Minister Lowe-Ceesay was quoted on The Standard.
In a media dispatch sent to The Point yesterday, the minister said: “Following the unfortunate saga that unfolded on February 28th 2018, I wish to once again state as follows:”
“That the statement I made was not out of malice. On the contrary, it was made to turn around the negative image that the Ministry is synonymous with,” she writes.
“As custodian of the sector and in the interest of the population, I extend an apology to anyone who might have been offended by the statement.”
The Ministry will continue to work in earnest and in close collaboration with all health personnel and ignore the undue distraction to put in place a desired drug accessibility system and better service delivery for the Gambian population who deserved better,” Mrs. Lowe-Ceesay further stated.
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