Monday 20th July 2020, the second largest cargo plane (Antonov AN-124 Ruslan plane) in the world arrived at the Banjul International Airport from Ankara, Turkey with 10 well-equipped ambulances that will allow intensive care treatment (ICU) en route, and critical lifesaving medical equipment and supplies for the prevention and treatment of COVID-19 and other health conditions. These ambulances, medical equipment and supplies will be distributed to various health facilities across the country to support COVID-19 response efforts and they will still be used after COVID-19. The materials will help to support the health system strengthening.
A total of One Hundred Million Dalasi (approximately US$2 million) of the Government Local Fund (GLF) along with financing from the World Bank was used to procure the 10 ambulances and large quantities of high quality medical equipment and supplies. These includes 60 ICU beds, 600 000 surgical masks, 1.2 million gloves, 5,000 oxygen masks, 4 ultrasound machines, 20,000 face shields, 25,000 personal protective equipment (overall), 30,000 respirators (N95), 205 oxygen flow meters, 3 digital 4D colour ultrasound machines, 4 ultrasound scanner and 100 non-touch thermometers.
These ambulances, medical equipment and supplies were received at the foot of the aircraft by the Honourable Minister of Health, Dr. Ahmadou Lamin Samateh on behalf of the Government of The Gambia. Upon receipt of the materials he expressed gratitude to His Excellency Mr Adama Barrow, President of The Republic of The Gambia for the political will and support provide to the health sector in responding to COVID-19 and other health related challenges.
The event was attended was attended by Cabinet Ministers such as: Hon. Momodou Tangara, Minister of Foreign Affairs; Hon. Ebrima Sillah, Minister of Information and Communication Infrastructure and Hon. Mambureh Njai, Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs. The chairperson of the National Assembly select committee on health, women and children Hon. Ousman Sillah was also in attendance. The World Bank Health Expert Dr. Samuel Mills was also attendance and he was thanked by the Hon. Minister of Health for supporting the procurement process. Senior staff of the Ministry of Health were in attendance as well.
The ambulances, medical equipment and supplies were escorted to the Central Medical Stores to make an inventory of the materials for onward transmission to the various health facilities across the country.