It is generally agreed that the level of economic, social and political involvement and performance of a nation depends largely on the health status of the people.
The saying: ‘a healthy nation is a wealthy nation’ is, therefore, very appropriate in this context.
For example, the economic loss to the nation resulting from the effects of Malaria and HIV/AIDS (that is, in terms of man-hours for the active labour force or student’s school days lost) must be colossal.
It is no coincidence, therefore, that the government has placed the provision of quality, affordable and accessible health care very high on the national agenda.
Since 1994, the government has demonstrated a commitment to improving the health of the general population, especially that of women and children.
In the past ten years, the public health sector has seen unprecedented rapid expansion.
Two new hospitals (the AFPRC hospital in Farafenni and Sulayman Junkung Jammeh hospital in Bwiam) have been built and are operational, with another new hospital under construction in Serrekunda.
In addition, a number of health centres and clinics have been built and others rehabilitated and upgraded.
These developments represent a real milestone and serve as significant landmarks in the history of the country’s health system, considering that in 30 years the previous government did not build a single hospital.
In addition to building, rehabilitating and upgrading health facilities nation-wide, the government works to ensure the availability and adequate supply of drugs, medical supplies, equipment, transport and other logistics.
For example, the continuous replacement of the old fleet of ambulances with new ones has greatly improved the referral system and has contributed significantly to the advancement of maternal and child health. This has reduced the national maternal and under-five mortality rates.
Public health financing
There has been an annual increase in the allocation given to health from the national coffers, meaning that there has been a steady increase in public health expenditures over the years.
For example, expenditure rose from D43 million in 1991 and 1992 and to D192 million in 2001.
"Since 1999, recurrent health expenditures have averaged more that 13 per cent while the average share of recurrent public resources (excluding debt services) devoted to health in the period 1990/91 to 2001 was 10.0%.
"Public health expenditure as a share of GDP averaged 2.6% between 1998 and 2001" (DoSH PER, 2001).
Health promotion and service delivery
The public health sector has been more strategic in its approach. For example, the creation of the National Population Commission (NPC), National Nutrition Agency (NaN) and National AIDS Secretariat (NAS) are measures taken to ensure the smooth running and implementation of programmes and activities.
Since their creation, positive results have been registered. A major contribution of the NPC is the increase in public awareness of the implications of an increasing population. Improvements in the nutritional status of Gambian women and children, and the relatively low HIV/AIDS prevalence rate in the country are to a large extent attributable to the good work of NaNA and NAS.
Operation Clean the Nation
The national cleansing exercise (Operation Clean the Nation (OCN), the brainchild of the President, will significantly help in the fight against Malaria. With the strengthening of OCN, especially during the rainy season, the country is set to attain the number one spot in Africa as the country with the best national malaria control programme in the region.
- Land and Housing-
- THE ROLE OF THE GAMBIA ARMED FORCES IN THE MAINTENANCE OF PUBLIC SECURITY, NATIONAL AND INTERNATIONAL PEACEKEEPING SINCE 1994
- The primary and principal functions of the Gambia Armed forces as embedded in the constitution are to preserve and defend the sovereignty and territorial integrity of The Gambia, to aid civil authorities during emergencies and national disasters; to engage in productive activities such as Agriculture, engineering, Health and Education for the development of The Gambia. Evidently, The Gambia Armed Forces has been actively engaged in all its principal functions effectively and efficiently since the turn of events in 1994.
- The evolution of The Gambia Armed Forces and the expansion of its primary and principal functions came about as a result of the 1994 change of government. Prudentially, the 1997 Constitution gives The Gambia Armed Forces additional mandates in the light of the changing phenomena in the traditional roles of the Armed Forces. These additional mandates have allowed the expansion of the role of The Gambia Armed Forces such as Rescue Missions, Emergency and Disaster Operations, and International Peacekeeping and Peace Enforcement Missions. The Gambia Armed Forces as part of its new and additional roles has been actively participating in the fight against HIV and Aids. Recently, The Gambia Armed Forces has effectively engaged in Agricultural activities in an endeavor to make The Gambia food self-sufficient.