By Amie Sanneh
The Indian Community in the Gambia yesterday donated an amount of D 865,000 to the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare. The ministry is expected to use the money as part of their campaign in the fight against Ebola in the country.
The Permanent Secretary at the Health Ministry, Dr. Mackie Taal who chaired the meeting described Ebola as a disease which is out of control and difficult to contain. He stated that the West Africa sub- region is in a state of emergency, noting that Ebola is a threat to human lives and the economy of any country. He explained that lots of resources are required both technical and financial. For the Gambia, he said, they have been doing a lot in terms of resource mobilization, sensitization and getting the equipment and protective materials to protect the health workers and the general public. He added that they are also screening people entering the country to ensure that they are Ebola free before entering the country. All these, according to him, are geared towards ensuring that the country is Ebola free. He said no matter what resources they have, they still need lots of resources, noting that the equipment they are buying is expensive and their response strategy such as sensitizing the general public and supervising the border all requires lots of resources and energy, thus describing their gesture as timely. The donation, he added, will go a long way in helping them in their preparedness plan. He assured them that the money will be put into good use.
Receiving the donation on behalf of the Ministry, the Minister of Health and social Welfare, Omar Sey described the donation as a surprise to him; noting that the Indian community in the country has demonstrated the love they have for the country. He stated that apart from the President of the Republic, the Tourism Ministry and WHO, the Indian Community is the first community to compliment its effort in the fight against Ebola. Minister Sey said from the small gain they have, they are able to save something and donate it to his Ministry. Minister Sey said they have been contributing to the socio- economic development of the country by creating employment opportunities and now they are giving back to the community. He assured them of his ministry’s support, adding that they will continue to work as partners.
Speaking on behalf of the Indian community in the Gambia, Suresh Wadhwani said the donation is part of their contribution in complimenting their government’s effort to contain Ebola in the country.
“Awareness is key to containing this terrible virus. We hope our little gesture will help create more awareness,” he said. He commended the 22 companies and individuals that have contributed towards the donation.