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GAF Launches Blood Donation Drive Across Major Hospitals

The CDS Donating Blood
CDS Drammeh Donating Blood

By Arfang M.S. Camara

In celebration of this year’s World Blood Donor Day, The Gambia Armed Forces
(GAF), under the leadership of the Chief of Defense Staff, Major General Yankuba Drammeh, has launched a blood donation drive across major hospitals in the country.

This initiative, which was launched at the Edward Francis Small Teaching Hospital (EFSTH) in Banjul today under the theme “Safe Blood Save Lives” and with a slogan “Give Blood and Make the World a Healthier Place” aims at complementing the efforts of the Ministry of Health in facilitating adequate supply of blood to Gambians, particularly during this Covid-19 pandemic.

This patriotic and humanitarian initiative has seen officers, soldiers and ratings of the Gambia Armed Forces in all military installations from Banjul to Basse, voluntarily donating blood to ensure that individuals and communities have access to safe blood and blood products in both normal and emergency situations.

The donation exercise took place in all major government hospitals including Edward Francis Small Teaching Hospital in Banjul, Kanifing General Hospital, Bwiam General Hospital, Farafenni General Hospital, Essau Health Centre, Bansang General Hospital and the Basse Major Health Centre.

Speaking during the launch, Sheikh Omar Faye, Minister of Defense, thanked the Gambia Armed Forces for the initiative, saying that there is nothing more important than saving the lives of people.

Sheikh Omar Faye, Minister of Defense

“This initiative shows that the GAF are only good at protecting and safeguarding the lives and properties of people of the country” and that their blood donations will save lives.

He declared that both the cabinet ministers and the Gambian leader, Adama Barrow are very proud of the Gambia Armed Forces, while assuring them of the government’s willingness to always support the Armed Forces particularly with its rebranding efforts.

For his part, Major General Yankuba Drammeh, Chief of Defense Staff of the Gambia Armed Forces hailed the Gambian soldiers for having the passion and drive for saving lives across the country.

He pointed to the significant value of both the presence of the Armed forces and blood donation to saving lives, adding, “the Gambia Armed Forces is one of the longest and vibrant donors of quality blood to the Edward Francis Small Teaching Hospital and other major hospitals.

He said the military blood has quality due to the rigorous physical training they undergo. And so they came up with this initiative to donate blood across the country just to thank the Gambian people for trusting them, while promising them their continuous sacrifice to the country and its people.

Dr. Mustapha Bittaye, Director of Health Services, on behalf of the Ministry of Health, thanked the soldiers for their magnanimity.

While describing their initiative as very important, he said, as a medical doctor, he knows too well how the lack of blood in a hospital could decide a patient’s fate. He therefore called on others to emulate the Soldiers.

Also speaking at the occasion was Mr Adama Sallah, Chairman of the Board of
Directors of the Edward Francis Small Teaching Hospital who similarly thanked the Gambia Armed Forces on behalf of the Health Ministry.

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