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Tagged: Projekthilfe Gambia

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Rieke Wiese is a new member of the board of Project Aid The Gambia, Germany. The general meeting elected her to succeed Dieter Lieken on 12 November 2021. Rieke Wiese represents the northern regional branch of Project Aid on the board.

“I would especially like to inspire young people to get involved with Project Aid,” says Rieke Wiese. Rieke is 24 years old and works as a health and nursing assistant in the children’s intensive care unit at Oldenburg Hospital, Germany.

Rieke Wiese now wants to bring a breath of fresh air into the board’s work – “and female expertise,” she says. She has already been a regular guest at the board meetings for a year.

Rieke was in The Gambia for the first time in 2017. “The country and the people and what I experienced in The Gambia grabbed me in the first week,” she says today. In 2018, Rieke spent three months working at the Jahaly health Centre: “I’m excited about what I saw in Jahaly and what I was able to do there myself.” She learned how health care works in another country and how to deal with completely different diseases and medicines in a different culture. “I was curious,” she says, “I always have been.”

“I know how things work at the Jahaly Health Centre and I feel very connected to Jahaly. Now I want to get actively involved in board work, learn a lot in the process and combine my job and voluntary work.”

What Rieke finds fascinating is that The Gambia is a country with “four different worlds”, as she says. “The world of the capital Banjul, the world of the tourist areas on the coast, the small world on the grounds of the project office and then the world in the bush clinic or in the village of Jahaly.”

 

“I am making room on the board for younger people,” says Dieter Lieken. “Working for Project Aid has enriched my life. I have made many friends in The Gambia and will definitely remain very connected to Project Aid.”

Dieter Lieken is a nurse and founded the Northern Regional Branch of Project Aid in 1996. He has been a member of the German board since 2006.

Dieter Lieken became acquainted with Project Aid in 1994. In August 1994, he accompanied Matthias Ketteler to the Jahaly Health Centre in The Gambia. Already on the return flight, he decided to voluntarily work for Project Aid.

“The clear organisation, the committed work of the board, but most importantly the cordiality of the inhabitants of Jahaly have always motivated me to work for Project Aid. Incidentally, this also applies to my wife and my whole family.”

Dieter Lieken intensively accompanied the development of the garden projects in The Gambia. He accompanied a total of four aid convoys to Gambia.

 

Welcome, Rieke. And many thanks for your work, Dieter.

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The Jahaly Health Centre will be the base station for a mobile vaccination team of the Gambian Ministry of Health for Jahaly and the surrounding area. Project Aid has offered the ministry working space and free overnight stays at the Jahaly Health Centre. A second mobile vaccination team works from neighbouring Brikama-Ba. The vaccination teams travel to the individual villages around Jahaly and make an offer of vaccination (Johnson & Johnson)  to the population. The international COVAX initiative has delivered 105,000 more vaccine doses to The Gambia. The Ministry of Health has developed a vaccination plan for all locations throughout The Gambia.

The mobile vaccination team is expected to arrive at the Jahaly Health Centre in the next few days. The arrival is delayed due to logistical difficulties.

In addition, the Jahaly Health Centre has started an education programme among patients and in the surrounding villages. Jahaly Health Centre staff are informing village elders, alkalos and imams about the need for a vaccination against COVID-19. They spread the word. They use village meetings, Friday prayers and local multipliers who march through the villages with drums and pass on the information about the vaccination. Patients who visit the Jahaly Health Centre are also educated daily about the vaccination and encouraged to get vaccinated. The message is: “Corona is real. We have to take the pandemic really seriously. We can all fight it together. No one is safe until everyone is safe. Vaccination is safe and it works.”

Initial feedback from the villages is encouraging: village elders have expressed their support for the vaccination campaign. They say they are now aware of the seriousness of the Corona virus and how important it is to protect themselves and their villages. People in the villages are willing to be vaccinated, they say.

Many residents in the surrounding villages do not have access to information. The opinion that COVID-19 does not exist is widespread in the rural areas.

 

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The association “Räder für Afrika – Tiroler helfen vor Ort” (Wheels for Africa – Tyroleans help on site) from Austria has dissolved and donated its remaining assets of 3,000 euros to Project Aid The Gambia.

“We thought that the remaining assets would be well invested with you. All the best for your great projects,” wrote Andreas Langer from Tyrol, Austria.

In 2018, “Wheels for Africa” had transferred a CITARO regular bus overland via Morocco, Mauritania and Senegal to The Gambia – as support for an extended Gambian family. The family wanted to start a business and use the bus to offer a regular service between the Gambian capital Banjul and Farafeni on the North Bank. However, despite many attempts, this was not feasible. Therefore, the bus was sold locally and the proceeds and other donations from the association help the Gambian family to cover their basic needs. The association also delivered medical supplies to the hospital in Farafeni, as well as bicycles, school supplies and other donations for children.

“Wheels for Africa” had contacted Project Aid The Gambia in 2018 to get tips on how to transfer the bus overland.

In May 2021, the “Wheels for Africa” journey came to an end – the association has disbanded. “Even though this chapter has come to an end, many things remain: an adventure, a great community experience and our contribution in Africa and The Gambia. Acting together works!” the association writes on its Facebook page as it bids farewell.

Project Aid The Gambia “continues” the journey and promises to use the entrusted assets from Austria in the spirit of “Wheels for Africa”.

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On 4 May 1991, Project Aid The Gambia opened the Jahaly Health Centre in Jahaly /  The Gambia and has since treated almost one million patients. We are proud that thanks to your donations and the tireless efforts of our nurses, we have been able to provide basic medical care in Jahaly for so long – and that the Jahaly Health Centre still looks the same today as it did on its first day. In fact, we think it looks even better. Let’s go for the next 30 years!

Due to the Corona pandemic, the planned celebrations turned out to be smaller than planned. On the day of the anniversary, our team in Jahaly did what they have been doing every day since 4 May 1991: taking care of the patients.

On Sunday, 16 May 2021, a small delegation from the project’s Main Office in Manjai Kunda travelled to Jahaly to thank the team on the ground for their work over the past 30 years with a small celebration. With them were the management team, Charles Mbye and Michael Blell from the board of Project Aid The Gambia and Project Aid (co-)founder and board member Matthias Ketteler from Germany.

They met with the frontline workers of Jahaly Health Centre and Jahaly-Madina Kindergarten – nurses, laboratory assistants, teachers, cooks, cleaners, gardeners and watchmen – to look back on the past 30 years. The elders from Jahaly were also present and the alkalos and imams of the villages of Jahaly and Madina. The women had prepared a festive meal of grilled chicken in baobab sauce. And even a birthday cake, which was ceremoniously cut by clinic head Fatou Suso and the alkalo.

Ebrima Jobarteh, the Project Coordinator, said, “30 years of effective service is the result of hard work and dedication of all staff. I thank the board for their continuous support.”

Charles Mbye, Chairperson of Project Aid The Gambia, said, “We look back with gratitude at your hard and outstanding work full of dedication. And we know that you will continue in exactly the same way.”

Matthias Ketteler, Board Member of Project Aid The Gambia in Germany, said: “My thanks go to the entire staff and to my mentor, Mr Tambadou, who convinced me 33 years ago to build a clinic here in Jahaly, his home village. I am happy because the Jahaly Health Centre has now become a model for the whole of The Gambia. And that is not because of the solid buildings, the money or the maintenance, but because of the people. That we have the trust of the people of Jahaly and Madina is paramount.”

It was a happy afternoon – despite more than 40 degrees in the shade.

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Since April 15, 2021, the Jahaly Health Centre has been charging its patients for the first time a – flat rate – fee for medication of 100 Dalasis (approx. EUR 1.65). Until then – since the clinic was inaugurated in 1991 – drugs had always been given out free of charge. Persistently high patient numbers in recent years (more than 30,000 patients per year) are one of the reasons for this change.

Project Aid The Gambia also believes the introduction of a drug fee to be sensible for another reason: “Development cooperation means putting the economic basis of projects on your own two feet,” says Matthias Ketteler, founder and board memeber of Project Aid The Gambia. “Patients’ participation in running costs is a necessary step and reduces dependency on foreign aid. ”

In the past few weeks, the patients at the Jahaly Health Centre had been informed about the introduction of the flat-rate drug fee in personal conversations and via a local radio station. The fee was positively received by the patients. In the surrounding governmental health facilities there are hardly any or no medication available, so that patients have to buy their medication themselves in – mostly – private pharmacies at increased prices.

“We guarantee that there will always be enough medication available at Jahaly Health Centre in the future,” says Matthias Ketteler. Project Aid The Gambia has just bought medication for approx. 18,000 euros in order to refill the drug stocks at Jahaly Health Centre.

In the course of the introduction of the drug fee, the registration / consultation fee for children between the ages of five and 15 has also been increased slightly. The fee is now 30 Dalasis (EUR 0.50)  instead of 25 Dalasis (EUR 0.40) as before. Children under five years of age pay – as before – 15 Dalasis (EUR 0.25), adults – as before – 30 Dalasis (EUR 0.50).

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The Jahaly-Madina kindergarten in Jahaly is finally allowed to reopen on October 28th after a forced break of more than seven months. Schools and kindergartens in The Gambia have been closed since March 18 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

For two days, teachers and educators have been preparing the reopening of the kindergarten. First of all, the kindergarten team cleaned all the classrooms from the dust of the last seven months. Then the rooms are cleaned and the outside area is brought back to shape. Minor repairs to the buildings are also necessary. Broken chairs are repaired. Finally, the team develops a hygiene concept in order to meet the requirements of the health authorities. Two days ago, all buildings were thoroughly fumigated by volunteers from the Gambia Red Cross. Since yesterday, parents can register their children for admission to the kindergarten. Not to forget the content-related preparation for the upcoming academic year.

While the kindergarten was closed, all of the Jahaly Health Centre’s patients were escorted across the kindergarten compound – hands were washed and disinfected and masks were distributed to each patient. The classrooms and the large open stage at the playground were used as a waiting area in order to be able to keep the 1.50 meter distance between the patients. The team of Jahaly Health centre now has to work out an alternative setting for this.

The Gambia is the country in West Africa that has been hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. To date, no corona infection has been found in Jahaly – but there are also no test options available at all.

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Essen/Germany 19.09.20200 Project Aid The Gambia has again launched an aid container to The Gambia. 29 hospital beds and extensive medical accessories for ventilators were loaded in the town of Essen/Germany.

The beds are a donation from the Essen University Hospital. The procurement of accessories for 34 ventilators, which were already handed over to the Gambian Ministry of Health on August 20, 2020, was funded as a micro-project of the German Embassy in Senegal / Gambia Office with 7,500 euros.

The aid container will arrive in The Gambia in early November.

You can find the blog post about the handover of the ventilators

| here |

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Today, Project Aid The Gambia, International NGO A 57, and the German Embassy Office in The Gambia handed over 34 ventilators with additional medical accessories and 18 hospital beds to the Gambian Ministry of Health at Project Aid’s Headquarters in Manjai Kunda.

The 34 ventilators are donations, gathered by Project Aid The Gambia from two medical supplier companies in Germany. Additional medical accessories for the ventilators were also handed over, provided by Project Aid The Gambia, Germany. Janine Hölscher, Political Attaché of the German Embassy Office in The Gambia handed over the medical equipment during a press conference held at the Main Office of Project Aid The Gambia in Manjai Kunda.

“Our delivery of ventilators will significantly improve the equipment of the Gambian health system,” said Charles Mbye, Chairman of Project Aid The Gambia, at the press conference. “The number of COVID-19 infections in The Gambia is surging alarmingly.” According to WHO health experts a possibly uncontrollable outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic in Africa in the months to come is feared. “We want to use this remaining time to help improve the dilapidated health system in The Gambia”, the Chairman added.

The ventilators will be used for the treatment of the increasing number of seriously ill COVID-19 patients. The ventilators have a new value of approx. 11 m GMD.

“We are aware of our social responsibility and as a family business we gladly donate life-support devices to Project Aid The Gambia. Ventilation is one of our core competencies and we hope to make a contribution to improving the situation on site”, says Timo Loewenstein from Loewenstein Medical, Germany – one of the companies, that donated the equipment to Project Aid The Gambia.

Heiko Hannemann, Managing Director of Boergel company, Germany: “We are very upset about the current development of the corona pandemic. We hope to be able to make a good contribution to coping with the use of the ventilators we have provided.”

The German Embassy in The Gambia is contributing with a donation of more additional medical accessories for the ventilators worth 400,000 GMD. This equipment will be shipped to The Gambia as soon as possible.

“The German Embassy gladly supports this very timely project as one of our micro-projects. The ventilators and the equipment are much needed amidst the rise of COVID-19 cases in the Gambia, and Project Aid The Gambia has been a trusted partner in The Gambia for many years”, Janine Hoelscher, Political Attaché of the German Embassy Office in The Gambia, explained during the press conference. With the micro-project scheme, the German Embassy supports NGO-initiatives that aim at improving basic needs of the poor and most vulnerable groups of the population.

Musa Omar Saine, Senior Logistics Officer at the Central Medical Store, appreciated the donations on behalf of HE the President of The Gambia and of the Minister of Health: “Any material that is given to the Ministry of Health is distributed very promptly and to the best of our ability. The donations are handed over at the right time to the right unit.”

All equipment is second hand, but in good and functional condition. Two more ventilators are due to be delivered to Medicare Clinic in Brufut. In return, the clinic has agreed to train governmental staff in the correct handling of the ventilators overseen by Project Aid’s Doctor Eliezer Rodriguez, an ER doctor from Venezuela. “We have tested all of the ventilators, so that they are working properly. In addition we have switched the items to English and translated the manuals from German to English”, Dr. Rodriguez said.

The 18 hospital beds are a donation from the Essen University Medical Center, Germany, that in 2019 and 2020 had already supported the health service of The Gambia through a donation of 39 second-hand hospital beds and other medical equipment – on the initiative of Mr. Thorsten Kaatze, Commercial Director and deputy CEO of the Essen University Medical Center: “At the Essen University Medical Center, we are happy to help improve the health system in The Gambia. I hope that our support will reach patients and improve medical care in The Gambia. In the future, too, we are ready to use medical devices in The Gambia in a meaningful way with Project Aid The Gambia.”

In another development, in cooperation with the Ministry of Health and the Regional Health Directorates of CRR and NBR, Project Aid The Gambia recently donated an amount of 23,000 reusable mouth-nose masks to 50 governmental health facilities in NBR and CRR regions as well as to the Edward Francis Small Teaching Hospital EFSTH in Banjul.

The face masks have been produced in The Gambia in the last few months. The production was funded by the German partner organization of Project Aid The Gambia, which had successfully run a fundraiser in Germany. Up to date Project Aid The Gambia had produced an amount of more than 33,000 face masks, some of which were sold to different NGOs and companies at cost price. The production of the face masks is still ongoing. More masks will be delivered to more health facilities, as soon as those facilities will have been identified by the health authorities.

The press conference were attended by three TV stations, one newspaper and  journalists of three online media houses. Please watch the Facebook livestream of the press conference | here |

The press release you may read | here |

Please watch the news reports of Paradise TV, StarTV-The Gambia and QTV below.

Paradise TV - 20.08.2020

StarTV - 21.08.2020

QTV - 20.08.2020

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Project Aid The Gambia donated 23,000 washable mouth-nose face masks made of cotton to 51 health facilities in The Gambia. In May Project Aid The Gambia handed over a total of 8,000 masks in the Central River Region (CRR) to 22 health centers and minor community clinics as well as to the hospital in Bansang. In addition, the facilities have received information sheets with information on the correct use and cleaning of the face masks. In mid-July, 4,000 face masks were donated to the largest hospital in The Gambia, the Edward Francis Small Teaching Hospital (EFSTH) in Banjul, and a further 11,000 face masks to two hospitals (Essau District Hospital and Farafenni Hospital), 12 health centers and 13 community clinics in the North Bank province Region (NBR).

The masks are designed to ensure that staff and each patient are provided with a face mask during their visit to the facilities. Upon leaving patients then return the masks. The masks are re-issued after being cleaned with hot water and detergent. Written instructions explain the procedure that Project Aid has been using in it’s own Jahaly Health Centre in Jahaly since the beginning of April.

The face masks for the North Bank Region were handed over to the Regional Health authorities on July 15th, 2020 in the Health Center Buniadu during a press conference and were then personally delivered to the health facilities by Project Aid The Gambia. Three newspapers and two TV stations had come to Buniadu for the press conference. The reports of the TV stations are linked at the end of this page. You can find the press release for the handover of the face masks| here | 

Since April, Project Aid The Gambia has had 32,300 masks produced in The Gambia for approx. 30 GMD / piece, 31,800 of which were spent. The production of further face masks has already been commissioned. The donations that we received for the masks in April / May are enough for the production of a total of approx. 47,000 face masks.

The Gambia is recording the feared increase in COVID-19 infections these days. As of July 20, 2020, a total of 112 infections were officially registered. Of these, 47 cases are active, 57 patients have recovered. Four patients have died. One patient has returned to Senegal, three patients have withdrawn. 668 people are in quarantine. A total of 4,147 tests were performed.

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QTV - 17.07.2020l

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Project Aid The Gambia today launched an aid container with medical equipment to The Gambia from Essen, Germany. The container was loaded with 36 ventilators for use against COVID-19 and 18 hospital beds. The donated equipment will be handed over to the Ministry of Health in The Gambia.

The 36 ventilators are donations from two medical supplier companies in Germany, Boergel and Loewenstein Medical. The 18 hospital beds are a donation from the Ruhrland Clinic – University Hospital Essen. Additional medical accessories for the ventilators were also loaded, provided by Project Aid The Gambia.

All equipment is used, but in good and functional condition. The ventilators are used to prepare the West African country for the expected increase in seriously ill COVID-19 patients. The ventilators have a new value of approx. 200,000 euros.

There are only 42 officially confirmed Corona cases (as of June 23, 2020) in The Gambia, of which 14 cases are active. 26 patients have recovered, two patients have died. The country with 2.3 million inhabitants currently only has 20 ventilators and eight intensive care bed units for COVID-19 patients.

“Our delivery of ventilators will significantly improve the equipment of the Gambian health system,” says Matthias Ketteler, founder and board member of Project Aid The Gambia. “The number of corona infections in Gambia is still increasing slowly, but the number of unreported cases is high because there are insufficient testing options.” Health experts expect a possibly uncontrollable outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic in Africa in the summer. “We want to use this remaining time to help improve the dilapidated health system in The Gambia.”

Two of the ventilators are to be delivered to the Medicare clinic, the best private clinic in The Gambia. In return, this clinic has agreed to instruct staff of the governmanetal clinics in the operation of the devices, reports Matthias Ketteler.

Loewenstein Medical had been working flat out over the past few days to provide as many used ventilators as possible from different locations. “We are pleased that our devices can make a small contribution to on-site help,” says Timo Loewenstein from Loewenstein Medical.

Sales agent Joerk Deimann of Boergel company came to Essen to load the container. Since many years he has been an active member of Project Aid The Gambia. “I think it’s fantastic and very imitative that my company is participating in this campaign.”

Heiko Hannemann, Managing Director of Boergel company: “We are happy to have participated in this relief effort. The ventilators can still serve well there. However, we hope that they never have to be used. ”

Staff of the Ruhrland Clinick had received the ventilators from different cities in Germany, prepared them for dispatch together with the hospital beds and loaded them into the container with the help of Joerk Deimann and Matthias Ketteler.

The Ruhrland Clinic – University Clinic Essen had already supported Project Aid The Gambia in 2019 with a donation of 21 used hospital beds and other medical equipment.

The 20ft container is shipped from Germany to the Gambia via a port in the Netherlands. The container is scheduled to arrive in the Gambian capital Banjul in late July.

In April / May Project Aid The Gambia has already successfully carried out a “Masks for The Gambia” fundraiser and collected around 25,000 euros in donations. In the meantime, over 30,000 washable reusable mouth-nose masks made of cotton have already been produced in The Gambia from the donations of that fundraiser. Around 10,000 masks were distributed to Project Aid`s Jahaly Health Centre and surrounding governmental health centers.