The Gambia has taken delivery of large consignment of medical items donated by Chinese business tycoon and founder of the Alibaba Group, Jack Ma, as support in the fight against Covid-19 in the country.The World Food Programme (WFP) Representative and Country Director, Wanja Kaaria announced the donation during a high-level emergency stakeholder meeting presided by The Gambian Vice-President Dr Isatou Touray at State House in Banjul on Wednesday.
The WFP chief, said the consignment comprising 20,000 test kids, 100,000 masks, 740, protective clothing and 1006 protective shields arrived in the country on Sunday by Ethiopian Airlines.
Dr. Desta Tiruneh, WHO country representative expressed his organisation’s commitment to supporting The Gambia in the battle against Covid-19. He said despite global challenges in securing funds due to increasing global demand for support in dealing with the pandemic, donors have been forthcoming to help countries affected by the virus.
Vice-President Touray hailed the UN agencies and donors as important partners in fight against the deadly disease. She said the government under the leadership of President Adama Barrow is highly concern about the virus and has since been taking appropriate prevention and response measures.
The Minister of Health, Dr. Ahmadou Lamin Samateh said a response plan crafted by an Inter-ministerial Task force Committee is costed at 8.8 million dollars and if made available is expected to handle the situation. The Health Minister disclosed the need to augment the national test laboratories and decentralize test and treatment centres to efficiently deal with the pandemic.
Samateh expressed special gratitude to the Chinese government through its embassy in Banjul for supporting The Gambia in times of need, especially on the Covid-19 outbreak.
Meanwhile President Barrow has approved D500 million emergency fund to tackle the pandemic in the country.
The Gambia so far confirmed three cases of Covid-19 while one of the patients, a 70 years old man from Bangladesh, had died of the virus.