The arrival and delivery of the first fleet of 20 new ambulances is expected to mark the start of government's Community Ambulance Services initiative.
President Barrow was at the Arch 22 in Banjul on Monday, September 13th, to officially receive and inspect the vehicles.
The Government, through the Ministry of Health, has procured a total of 80 ambulances meant to be deployed to health facilities across the country. Following this first set of 20 ambulances will be 25 more, expected at the end of this month; another 10 ambulances expected in October while the remaining 25 will arrive in the country in November 2021.
Both the President and the Health minister expressed delight and relief that the ambulances have been delivered at this critical moment.
The President expressed hope that this will go a long way towards reducing the difficulties of people; especially those in hard-to-reach communities, and vulnerable people like pregnant women, in trying to get to the health facilities in time and in safety.
The Community Ambulance Service is in response to the needs raised by many communities for ambulances during the previous Meet the People Tour. It also forms part of the government’s comprehensive healthcare strategy as indicated in the National Development Plan. The initiative will facilitate easy access to hospitals and health facilities. They will be stationed in strategic locations in communities to serve as rapid response squads to health emergencies.
Speaking during the brief presentation ceremony, President Barrow said, “if you are elected as President, it is a social contract, to impact the people's lives by listening to them." He thanked the Ministry of Health and the National Assembly for their cooperation in the purchase of the Ambulances. The President highlighted the need to fulfill the people's desire by listening to their concerns and act upon them. "It was a promise we made, today we kept our promise." The President said it was historical as far as the health sector is concerned, "calling on all Gambians and the people in the communities to support the community ambulance services."
President Barrow further expressed delight at having such a service in the country. He said it will make a big difference in facilitating access to healthcare.
Ahamed Lamin Samateh, Minister of Health said the government through his Ministry is partnering with Turkish government to train Gambia’s paramedics. He informed that the head of Primary Health Care came back from Turkey two days ago to train a team of 16 Gambians in preparation for the implementation of the Community Ambulance Services.