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Statement By President Barrow At The Laying Of The Foundation Stone For The Construction Of The National Emergency Treatment Center In Farato


2nDecember 2021

Your Excellency, the Vice President 

My Lord, the Chief Justice,

Hon. Speaker of the National Assembly,

Hon. Cabinet Ministers,

Members of the National Assembly,

The Governor, West Coast Region,

The Alkalo and Imam of Farato,

Members of the Diplomatic and Consular Corps,

The World Bank Country Director and team,

Other Development Partners,

Senior Government officials

Members of the Media, 

Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is my singular honour and privilege to preside over this historic foundation stone laying ceremony for the construction of a National Emergency Treatment Centre. The event is part of the renewed process of revolutionising The Gambia’s health care delivery system for better performance.  This is the first phase of the one thousand and five hundred bed hospital.

Distinguished personalities, it is essential for us to have a National Emergency Treatment Centre that can effectively respond to emerging pandemics, such as COVID-19, which continues to put a big strain on all healthcare systems in the world. The situation makes it necessary for every country to have a high-level infectious disease management centre.

It is common knowledge that the frequency of pandemics is increasing globally and without warning. Health systems, the world over, are nowstruggling to cope with the demand for health services. 

As a matter of fact, health facilities often struggle to provide the rapid emergency care needed to manage epidemic outbreaks of contagious diseases, no wonder COVID-19 has claimed over a million lives. The reality is that there is limited capacity worldwide to manage the situation.

To address such challenges, we are here today for the construction of a high-quality Treatment Centrewith up-to-date equipment to effectively manage patients requiring special attention. I believe strongly that the new centre will serve this purpose efficiently when completed. 

I must use this opportunity, therefore, to call on the private sector and other partners to participate actively in our health care delivery system so that, together, we can stem the wave of suffering linked to ill health. 

We have the collective task and goal of providing and sustaining quality, efficient and timely health care for all. 

My government has the will and I have the resolve to work with everyone for the attainment of our development objectives in the best interest of the people. 

Distinguished ladies and gentlemen, it is certain that the availability of a National Emergency Treatment Centre will contribute immensely to improving our health care delivery system. 

We expect that it will reduce morbidity and mortality related to infectious diseases, which means saving human lives. In addition, the Centre will contribute to reducing the economic burden on the Government and development partners.

In this respect, my government eagerly looks forward to the completion of this very important Treatment Centre. 

We are confident that it will boost the capacity of the health sector for effective response to current and emerging health-related challenges.

I assure you all that my government is committed toimplementing a lot more projects of this type. In fact, this is one of twenty-five health facilities that Government is building. 

We appreciate the support of our partners in this endeavour, and will strive to strengthen collaboration and work with all of them for the socio-economic development of our beloved country. 

I have the conviction that, under my leadership and in the not too distant future, The Gambia health care system will be second to none in the sub-region.   

Ladies and gentlemen, my vision is for all Gambians and residents of The Gambia to be among the healthiest in the world. As President, I want everyGambian citizen to live a better life, with financial opportunities increased through honest work and good health. 

Generally, my goal is that Gambian children learn in good schools, teachers teach in performing schools, health care workers work in excellent facilities, public servants operate in a cordial environment, andall Gambians live in peace and tranquillity.

In pursuing these ideals, I am pleased to declare that, for the first time in the country, the National Health Insurance Bill has been accented to and registration for the Insurance will begin soon. 

This will make healthcare in the country affordable and accessible to all.

Distinguished ladies and gentlemen, my government is grateful for the support from our development partners and other stakeholders. Their contribution to the health sector is certainly laudable. In this respect, special appreciation and commendation go to the World Bank Group for taking the lead in funding this project.

Ladies and Gentlemen, allow me to take this opportunity to express deep appreciation to all those present. As we make history today, I urge everyoneto stand by my government to move the country’s development agenda forward. 

I am optimistic that, sixteen months from today, we will meet here again to inaugurate an excellent National Emergency Treatment Centre.

Until then, let us remain focused and continue working and keeping the peace.

To conclude, while I invite you to join me in layingthe foundation stone for the Centre, I thank you all for your commitment and dedication to the development and welfare of our dear nation.  

May God bless our efforts.

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