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Matthias Ketteler, founder and chairperson of Project Aid The Gambia, Germany, has been awarded the Cross of Merit on Ribbon of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany by the German President for his commitment in The Gambia.

Dr Sascha Dewender, Mayor of the German City of Bochum, presented Matthias Ketteler with the certificate and insignia on behalf of the German President on 10 August 2022.

During a short ceremony at Bochum City Hall, Dr Dewender, representing Lord Mayor Thomas Eiskirch, said:

“Such selfless commitment as that of Matthias Ketteler enriches our society – and far beyond the city limits! Education and health are the highest goods we can share with other people. Together with his comrades-in-arms in the association, Mr Ketteler does extraordinary things, and I am pleased that he has been awarded the Federal Cross of Merit on Ribbon for this.”

Matthias Ketteler accepted the high award in his immediate family circle.

“The award is not for me personally, but for the idea of living solidarity and taking responsibility for the weaker ones,” said Matthias Ketteler. “It’s an award for our work in Jahaly with more than one million patients and thousands of children in our kindergarten to whom we provide early childhood education.”

Matthias Ketteler dedicates this award to all staff members in The Gambia as well as to all members, donors and supporters of Project Aid in Germany: “I gladly accept the award – on behalf of all of us.”

Matthias Ketteler, born in 1961, trained as a health care worker and nurse after graduating from high school (1987). He is a founding member of Project Aid The Gambia, both in Germany and in The Gambia, and has been a board member ever since, with one year’s interruption. He is married and has three children.

Matthias Ketteler is the owner of “Cognito Informationssysteme GmbH & Co KG”. In 2004/2005 he spent a whole year in The Gambia together with his family. In February 2009, Matthias Ketteler was appointed Special Ambassador for Rural Health by the Gambian government – with full diplomatic status.

On the board of Project Aid The Gambia, Germany, Matthias Ketteler mainly takes care of the coordination of the projects and the daily exchange with the project office in The Gambia.

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Project Aid The Gambia, partner association of the German Projekthilfe Gambia e.V. in The Gambia, has expanded its board from five to nine members. The Projekthilfe Gambia, as a German association, cannot operate directly in The Gambia. Project Aid The Gambia is officially registered in The Gambia as “International NGO A57″.

In order to broaden its profile among the Gambian public, the organization has expanded its Board to include well-known personalities with good contacts in politics, business and society.

The newly appointed board members are Pa Doudou Mbye, Minyan Jobe, Lang K. Konteh and Malik Jones.

Charles Mbye, Chairman: “Although Project Aid The Gambia operates two excellent health centers and kindergartens in Jahaly, CRR, and Buniadu, NBR, and has supported the country’s public health system for many years, among other things by supplying used medical equipment from Germany, the organization’s public image is not yet at the level it deserves. We want to change that.”

We introduce the new board members in detail:

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from left to right: Matthias Ketteler, Pa Doudou Mbye, Charles Mbye, Michael Blell, Ali Tambadou, Minyan Jobe, Lang K. Konteh.

Not pictured: Malik Jones, Ulfert Engelkes

 

Pa Doudou Mbye – Mr. Mbye is a retired International civil servant with over 25 years of working experience with the United Nations and has worked in several continents. Prior to joining the UN system, Pa Doudou was with The Gambia Government civil service – apart from stints at the Ministries of Economic Planning & Industrial Development (MEPID) and the erstwhile Ministry of Local Government & Lands, he has managed several World Bank, UN and EU projects notably Gambia’s first World Bank funded urban project – the Urban Management& Development Project. “Joining Project Aid would give me the opportunity to serve The Gambia’s health sector”, he says.

Minyan Jobe – Mr. Jobe is the Honorary Consul of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, Managing Director of ABC Logistics and Past Assistant Governor and Current Chair of the Rotary District Public Image Committee, District 9101, Board member of the Media Council of The Gambia and Board member of the Gambia Chamber of Commerce. “I have a passion for helping the needy and in effect, complimenting the efforts of government in the health sector and most especially community development”, he says. “This I believe will help ensure a healthy and productive Gambia.”

Lang K. Konteh – Mr. Konteh is the Managing Director of Maadikon Trading Ltd, a petroleum importation and re-export company. “I am a philanthropist in heart”, he says. “For this reason, it’s a honour and pleasure for me to be appointed a board member of Project Aid The Gambia.”

Malik Jones – Mr. Jones serves as the new secretary of the Board, responsible for public relations. Mr. Jones is doing Media Consulting and Public Relations. He works as political commentator and TV host on Election Nights in The Gambia and as the Master of Ceremony on Special events. The veteran journalist began his broadcast career in 1980 at Radio Gambia and worked through the ranks from Announcer to Producer, Senior Producer, Principal Producer. He hold several important positions in the media fraternity of The Gambia throughout his career, includig Director General of GRTS.  In February 2017 he was redeployed as Deputy Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Information, Communication and Infrastructure, a post he held before.

The other long-standing members of the Board are:

Matthias Ketteler, Germany, co-founder of Project Aid The Gambia and Good Will Ambassador At Large

Abdoulie Charles Mbye, Chairman of the Board, Owner and Head of General Engineering Ltd., a reputable engineering outfit in The Gambia

Ali Tambadou,  Realtor, who was also project coordinator for the Jahaly kindergarten project in 2004. Mr. Tambadou has a very personal relationship with the founders of Project Aid The Gambia that goes back to its inception more than 35 years ago. He is in fact continuing the good work of his father, the late Alhaji MS Tambadou, a co-founder who initiated the construction of the Jahaly Health Centre in support of the people of Jahaly, his home village.

Michael Blell, Manager at Sunset Beach Hotel, Kotu

Ulfert Engelkes, Germany, filmmaker

At its constituent meeting a few days ago in Manjai Kunda, the newly constituted Board of Project Aid the Gambia decided that, in addition to the existing projects, it will in future also be involved in individual medical aid for people in need in The Gambia. Among other things, fundraiser campaigns are to be launched in the social media.

 

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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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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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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  and StarTV-The Gambia and a tutorial how to set up and operate the artificial respirator VENTIMOTION 2 below.

Paradise TV - 20.08.2020

StarTV - 21.08.2020

Tutorial - Ventimotion 2

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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.

 

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We have to tell you about an extraordinary education session in our kindergarten in Jahaly. We look after 300 children between the ages of four and six in this academic year. Our goal is early childhood education at the highest level, which prepares the children as best as possible for their future school career. And all happens in a village in the countryside, in a very remote area of The Gambia, 270 kilometers away from the coast. We work with skilled and unskilled teachers, who themselves have not received an educational training comparable to Germany. Add to this the complete seclusion of the village, cultural constraints and a changing society after 22 years of dictatorship. One has to imagine: about a year ago, the power grid arrived in the village for the first time in history, this month finally on our project site. By the way: In the village, only very few can afford a connection to the new power grid. Despite all this, the teachers try to do their best. We are not talking about education in a Western style or African style, not Christian style or Muslim style. It is all about the children. It is all about their future.

“The only hope is education,” says Patricia Ceesay. She owns and runs a private Montessori Pre-School and Primary School in Brufut in the coastal region. At least once a year she travels to Jahaly and does training and workshops with our teachers. Our volunteers Lena and Marieke, who are currently doing an internship at the Jahaly-Madina kindergarten, report about the three day’s workshop from the 20th to the 22nd of February 2019.

On Wednesday Patricia Cessay arrives in Jahaly. Since she has arrived very early in the morning, she looks directly at the “morning classes”. The first workshop takes place during the first break. All teachers gather in a classroom. First, Patricia praises the teachers and says what she has noticed when watching the class at work: compared to last year, the children are more involved in the classroom activities. Later she adivises the teachers team, that it is important to have the children at the playground under observation always so that accidents can be avoided. In addition, the classrooms should be kept clean and tidy to create a better learning environment. Then it’s about spelling mistakes on the posters in the classrooms. The teachers are role models for the children, says Patricia, and should avoid spelling errors.

Next topic: Children learn and understand each other at different speeds. That’s why children should not go to the next level until they are ready. At the end of the workshop, it’s about teamwork: constructive criticism should be accepted, and teachers should help each other.

In the afternoon, Patricia looks at the “afternoon classes”.

Back in the guest house, we (Lena and Marieke) then start directly to produce new materials for the classroom. One method that Patricia also applies in her school is short sentences with two to six words written on different colored paper. These can then be picked out by the children in the classroom for them to read and write off. We create an example Patricia will give to the teachers the next day so they can make something like that for each of their classes.

On Thursday, in the workshop Patricia Ceesay discusses the importance of the English language in class. English is the basis for further education of the children. Patrica talks about the importance of learning to write. Many children learn Arabic on the weekend. In Arabic, however, one writes from right to left and not, as in English, from left to right. This is confusing for many children and must therefore be practiced.

Patricia motivates the teachers by telling them what role they play in children’s lives and in their education. The teachers should therefore be proud of their profession.

The children should be taught that no garbage is thrown on the floor, but in the existing trash cans. Next topic: the class rules. Class rules should be posted in every classroom and should be repeated every morning. Patricia makes it clear once again that in the classroom the focus should be on the child. This means that teachers should not go to their cell phones during the lesson or deal with other things. Part of the workshop is also that Patricia writes different words with two vowels on the blackboard. She explains and practices the pronunciation with all the teachers. Finally, the procurement of school and learning material will be discussed. A list of missing materials should be created and forwarded to the project office. Patricia spends the afternoon watching the afternoon classes. On the positive side, she notices that children learn with different learning methods. During an lesson on vegetables, the teacher went to the kitchen garden with the children to look at the vegetables there.

On Friday, Patricia gives a final workshop. Here she first goes into the way of teaching. Teachers should teach in a calm posture and with a lowered voice. In addition, the huge size of the classrooms should be used in a better way. In order for the children to have more space to study and to be able to concentrate better, the tables should be pulled apart. To make sure that the children drink enough, Patricia suggests short breaks in which the children can drink water. The children should be taught in class, for example, how to brush teeth or to go to bed early. The children take home what they have learned and can then apply it at home. It is then addressed that the teachers should involve the parents of the children. Parenting sessions could also be used to claim the fee for school lunches or to tell parents how to get their children ready for school. This includes braiding the hair of the girls, shaving off the hair of the boys – and washing the school uniform regularly.

At the end of the workshop Patricia thanks all attendees and expresses, how happy she is about the nice cooperation. She also warmly invites all teachers to visit her school in Brufut: the “Trankil Academy – Montessori Education Centre”.

The teachers appreciate her support and advice and look forward to a next time.”

 

The pedagogical findings from her workshop were summarized by Patricia Ceesay in this report:

“Over the course of my three day visit, I was able to observe all the classes during the morning and afternoon shifts, both at work and play.

I was pleased to note that the classes were more interactive and orderly. Teachers had prepared an abundance of teaching/learning apparatus and were using them on a daily basis. As had been discussed at the last meeting, teachers had found that the classes were more orderly when children were actively engaged in their own learning. The teachers admitted that this also made them feel less tired and they enjoyed their classes more.

On all three days, we were able to hold a training session. During these sessions, I was able to share my observations with the staff, discuss their concerns and constraints, and suggest concrete ways in which they could improve their work within the school, their relationship to the parents, outreach to the community, and follow¬up with the basic cycle school to which most of the children proceeded.

lt is pleasing to note the teachers’ willingness to implement suggestions to improve themselves both personally and professionally.

With each successive visit, I can clearly see improvement in teachers’ confidence, understanding of children, execution of lessons, and management of classes. I have no doubt they will continue to do well.”

(Patricia A. Ceesay/Education Adviser)

 

Pictures: ©2019 Projekthilfe Gambia e.V. / Lena Engel, Marieke Osewold

Picture Gallery

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On 24.01.2019 Project Aid The Gambia, Projekthilfe Gambia e.V. (Germany)  and Dr. Isatou Touray, Minister of Health *, signed a Memorandum of Understanding to improve health care in the rural Gambia.

1. Initial situation
The state health service in The Gambia is disastrous. The larger state run hospitals lack medicines and medical devices. The same applies to rural health centers spread across the country.

The rural health centers  are structurally and hygienically in a desolate condition. Very few have a supply of electricity and running water. Health centers connected to the electricity grid have a monthly budget for electricity (“cash power”) that is too small and often used up in the middle of the month. Nocturnal births take place in the light of flashlights or cell phones.

The lack of medicines means that patients need to buy their medicines for treatment in nearby private pharmacies at overpriced prices. These private pharmacies are operated by well-trained nurses who were formerly employed in the state health care system and are now lacking the state system.

Specialist doctors are missing throughout the country. For example, in Gambia there is only one diabetologist who can treat only a very small number of diabetics – and that only in the capital  area of Banjul and only with the help of an association in Germany.

Many rural nurses have left the civil service because the ministry can not provide them and their families with housing in or near the health centers.

Medical equipment donated from Germany and other European countries often does not last long, as there are no training ocapacities for technical personnel and / or lack of money for maintenance and repairs.

In 2011/2012, Project Aid The Gambia e.V., with funding from the German BMZ (Federal Ministry for Cooperation and Development), rebuilt the state run health centre in the village of Njaba Kunda as a model clinic and handed it over to the Gambian Ministry of Health.

In 2009/2010 Project Aid The Gambia e.V. carried out a structural survey of all 33 then existing rural health centers. Floor plan drawings and photos are available from that survey.

Through the project described below The Gambia could become a model region in Africa.

2. Project description

Buildings / Equipment

  • The health centers shall be renovated / renovated.
  • The hygienic conditions shall be improved: creation of a water supply, tiling of all premises etc.
  • In each chealth centre a small laboratory shall be set up
  • Housing for staff, not from the surrounding villages, should be created (new building)
  • Establishment of a central “Facility Management” team of local craftsmen who are responsible for maintenance / repairs of the buildings (planned: over a period of 10 years after initial   renovation or new construction

Energy and water supply

  • If possible, all rural health centers shall be equipped with an uninterruptible 24/7 (solar) power and water supply – by installing small PV systems including storage batteries.

Medical Equipment

  • Medical equipment (second-hand) for state hospitals shall be get hold of in Germany (donation or purchase) and be shipped to The Gambia
  • Training for technical personnel
  • Creating a facility for maintenance / repair of medical equipment locally in The Gambia

Drug supply

  • The existing system of free delivery of – non-existing medicines  – to patients shall be abolished. Patients shall in the future purchase prescribed drugs at the purchase price (wholesale prices) plus 10% surcharge. This has already been agreed in the present MOU.
  • From drug sales and patient treatment fees, new medicines can be purchased
  • The procurement of medicines incl. Logistics (delivery / storage) should be outsourced to local private wholesale pharmacies.
  • This would cut off the business basis of the small private pharmacies in the neighborhoods of the health centers. The owners  (nurses) would return to the state health service.

 

Health Centre App

Project Aid Thee Gambia is currently developing an App for smartphones, with which the operation of a health centers can be completed, including

  • Registration of patients
  • Revenue fees for medical treatment and laboratory services
  • Diagnosis / treatment inclunding medical guidelines for the treatment / medication of the most common diseases
  • Laboratory results
  • Issue / prescription of medication
  • Possibility of data transfer from  of symptoms / diseases to UN / WHO or other international organizations.

The app sends all data daily and automatically for evaluation to a central server (via Internet or SMS)

Information on the number of patients treated and diseases are available on the same day.
The accumulation of diseases in specific places / regions and possible incipient epidemics can be detected and combated at an early stage.
Information about the number of medicines issued is available on the same day and can be used for reordering / logistics.
In larger health stations, a small network (“intranet”) with server (PC, laptop) for data storage / forwarding must be set up. Prerequisite for this is an uninterruptible 24/7 power supply. This is guaranteed by the installed PV system(s) and storage batteries.

 

3. Status of the Project 

At the moment Project Aid The Gambia is awaiting information from the Gambian Ministry of Health about

  • Number / designation of the rural health centers to be renovated / renovated
  • structural condition of each health centre
  • Connection to the mains
  • staffing
  • Number of patients / year
  • Existing medical equipment in state hospitals
  • lack of medical equipment in state hospitals

Subsequently, the financing requirement can be determined, a cost calculation and a scheduling can be worked out. At present, partners are being sought for the implementation of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU).

* Update: On March 15th, 2019, the Minister of Health, Dr. Isatou Touray, was appointed as the Vice President. On March 27th, 2019, Dr. Ahmadou Lamin Samateh was appointed as the new Minister of Health.