By Awa B. Bah
The Minister of Health and Social Welfare, Mrs. Saffie Lowe Ceesay, has acknowledged that the Central River Region, has the worst performing health indicators, most especially in the northern part of the region.
Mrs. Lowe Ceesay was responding to questions raised by Hon. Amadou Camara, NAM for Nianija. During the question and answer session, the member for Nianija asked the Health Minister the plans of her ministry in addressing the access to quality healthcare delivery coupled with the unavailability of essential medicine in the Central River Region.
Mrs. Lowe Ceesay further indicated that this was presumed based on earlier Multiple Indicator cluster survey number 4, conducted by UNICEF and partners in 2010; that the situation has improved greatly from what it was before but that due to the low poverty profile of the area, the inequalities in household income, use of health services with poor road infrastructures and communication facilities, has negatively impacted on the health outcomes of the area.
‘‘CRR has witnessed numerous interventions by the ministry and partners support for extending PHC facilities with boost of supplies of essential medicines. Health facilities in the Gambia are classified into hospitals, Major health centers, NGO clinics, Private clinics, community clinics and health posts. Nationally, the CRR has the highest service delivery points of 23.7%, compared to WCR 2 with 14.4%. It is also anecdotal evidence that the river crossing between the North and South Banks of the river Gambia, remains a major challenge to health service delivery, and inadequate human resources, lack of proper staff accommodation, poor road conditions, unavailability of ferries after closing hours, road traffic accidents and serious medical emergencies, are all situations that affect and impacts on referrals of women in labour,’’ the Health Minister said.
‘‘The unique situation of the CRR region,’’ the minister noted, ‘‘is well known especially the Northern part of the region, from Lamin Koto stretching to Passamas in the URR.’’ The minister revealed the prioritized areas in terms of health mapping, of constructing in the near future a major health facility that will provide comprehensive clinical care around and near Sami Karantaba health center, serving the catchment area that stand remote from Bansang Hospital and Kuntaur health center, as next referral points within the region.