Reviving Healthcare In The Gambia.
The Gambia has had three presidents ever since independence in February 18, 1965. Throughout that time, and even in this current period, healthcare has been so poor and has not been given the priority that it needs for there to be a good health system.
As a Gambian living in the diaspora, I believe that I am privileged to have good health coverage at my disposal. But what about my fellow Gambians who live in The Gambia? Do we, as Gambians, see a flaw in the health system of the country? Have we put into account the number of pregnant women who die even before they get to the second trimester of pregnancy? Do we keep track of the number of women who die in childbirth? How about the babies who die during or after delivery due to complications. Complications that could easily be handled if there are good hospital equipment. Does maternal and child health matter in the Gambia? How about infant mortality? How about the elderly? What health plans do we have for older adults?
Do Gambians have to travel out of the Gambia before they can get medical help for conditions that could have been easily handled at home if a proper health system was put in place? I do not blame anyone for seeking healthcare in other African countries, especially our sister country, Senegal. Other Gambians are privileged to travel abroad to Western countries to get healthcare. The reason for doing so is very justified. But what if you don’t get the funds to do so? Is it justifiable that the poor, who cannot even go beyond 1 square meal a day, face paralysis or death, because they cannot afford to seek healthcare beyond the boundaries of the country?
We put presidents into power by voting for them. As citizens of the country, taxes are deducted from our earnings routinely. Basic healthcare is a right for every Gambian. What if we bring healthcare professionals into the picture? What if healthcare professionals are included in the decision making process of the government? They should be able to advocate for the health sector. What if those healthcare professionals actively give The Gambians feedback on every agenda put on the table? What role does healthcare providers in The Gambia play besides being at hospitals and clinics?
Are Gambians practicing preventive health? Or do we unconsciously or even consciously engage in bad health practices and get sick as a result? PREVENTION is definitely better than cure. Do we prevent malaria by sleeping under insecticide treated bed-nets and cleaning mosquito breeding grounds in order to stay healthy? Or do we just expose ourselves to malaria and then seek for expensive treatment that, most often, is fatal?
Are Gambians ready to create a health movement? A movement that gives healthcare providers the chance to advocate for all Gambians? Healthy citizens create a strong and developed nation. The goal is to reform the health system in The Gambia. The time is now! Every Gambian, within or outside the country, is accountable for making this movement a success.
Do we always have to stretch out our hands to beg for funds? What if every Gambian contributes D10 per month. A contribution that will be publicly audited and spent on the right course? Expenditures will be tracked.
As a Gambian, what is your take in this issue? What do you propose?