PRESS RELEASE FROM GAPHO ON THE CURRENT POLITICAL SITUATION IN THE GAMBIA

Gambia Association of Public Health Officers (GAPHO) is a professional association established in 1971 to advance public health services and promote the health and welfare of people living in The Gambia.

The Gambian people went to the polls on the 1st December 2016 to elect a president and as announced by the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC), Mr Adama Barrow, the flagbearer for the coalition was declared the winner and duly elected as the next president of The Republic of The Gambia. When the results were announced, the whole world congratulated us for our maturity and the peaceful manner in which the election was conducted.

We are therefore surprised that the outgoing President Yahya Jammeh challenged the election results a week after conceding defeat and congratulating President-Elect Adama Barrow. After 22 years of Jammeh’s rule, Gambians have elected a new president and this decision must be respected by outgoing President Jammeh, the APRC party and members of the Armed and Security Services.

We commend the international community for the swift action in calling on outgoing President Jammeh to respect the will of the Gambian people and hand over power to President-Elect, Adama Barrow.

As public health professionals, we wish to take this opportunity to inform outgoing President Yahya Jammeh and all those supporting his actions that if he fails to hand over to President-Elect Barrow, the peace and stability that Gambians are enjoying may be undermined which will have serious negative implications on public health in the country.

These include the following:

  1. Destruction of health infrastructure and the supply chain which could paralyse the delivery of health services across the country.
  2. The safety/security of the health workers including doctors and nurses will not be guaranteed which could lead to disruption of essential services.
  3. Children under 5 years and pregnant women will miss primary health care services thus exposing them to greater risk of contracting vaccine preventable diseases.
  4. Pregnant women ready for delivery (i.e. in labour) will not receive maximum care as some skilled midwives will not go to work.