SECURITY SECTOR ROLES IN RESPONSE TO A PANDEMIC (COVIG-19) IN THE GAMBIA
Pandemic is a global threat that has the potential to affect every nation and the Gambia is not an exception. It does not recognise borders so it spread like wildfire. Nevertheless, the ramification will not only be for the well being of our population but for the economic security of the country.
Today, in this difficult period in our history the state of the emergency declared,scaling down of government operation amongst other strict measures by His Excellency President Adama Barrow is commendable and necessary. In this light, commplement the international organisation such as (WHO) recognised specific response required to nipped in the bud of deadly virus.
The military, police and other sister forces in the security sector play a critical role in the containment of the pandemic in many ways in our communities. Undoubtedly, given the threat of COVIG-19 every individual is susceptible irrespective of your status,age and color in the society.
The key are military and other security force could help in the followings.
1. MAINTAINANCE OF SECURITY AND PUBLIC ORDER
The deployment of security forces especially the Military in a democratic state will be unusual and the public could likely be panic. However, due to the stress placed on the poor Healthcare system in sub saharan African countries including the Gambia, the law enforcement officers like the Military, Police and Intelligence may be called upon to enforce movement restrictions and quarantines those suspected and confirmed to have contracted the virus. In addition, to the protection of key government installations.
2. LOGISTIC SUPPORT
The military could provide logistic in the area of transportation of vital medical equipements and food supplies. The communities and vulnerable people who are at the risk should be provided with essential support in this trying time.
3. MEDICAL SUPPORT.
Though, the military and other sister forces may have limited number of medical personnel. However, they have significant pool of trained and discipline officers with different skills that could be able to mobilise and response quickly to the demands on special operations.
Meanwhile, the response to the Coronavirus pandemic, appropriate measures such as Self-Isolation or quarantine are critical public health practice recommended by World Health Organisation (WHO) in a bid curb the spread of the virus in our societies. Traditional military and police duties should be halted . The security officers are expected to have their uniforms, gowns, glooves amongst other personal protective equipment (PPE) to complement the efforts of the health workers in the Gambis.
By A Concerned Gambian
Living in Manchester, UK