by Moses Emmanuel Mendy
Ida Bass Kidney Foundation (IBKF) on Monday 25th January 2021 through the Ministry of Health (MOH) donated 1.6 million disposable Face Masks to 20 Gambian Institutions including fourteen health centres and other relevant beneficiaries such as the Gambia Press Union, the Ministry of Education, Banjul City Council, Kanifing Municipal Council, Starfish International, and IBKF Volunteers. The donation ceremony took place at the MoH Central Medical Store in Kotu.
Alhaji Jallow, who delivered a speech on behalf of the donor said £500,000 equivalent to D34 Million, was committed to the delivery of the consignment to Gambian beneficiaries. He also stated that the donation is a contribution to the availability of facemasks in the country which is why the quantity is significant.
He said the distribution was considerable because the beneficiaries need assistance and “the wider the distribution, the more people get access to facemasks and that is why it has been identified or recognized that the health centres should benefit from the facemasks and also the municipalities. The two big municipalities, Banjul City Council and the Kanifing Municipal Council all benefitted from this”. He concluded that Ida Bass Kidney Foundation will continue to offer support.
MoH Permanent Secretary 2, Mr Dampha, revealed that the second wave of coronavirus has started and the donation is timely because the facemasks will play a very important role in curbing the spread of the pandemic. He emphasized on the importance of using the facemasks calling it the “most important measure” one could do to prevent themselves and the society from spreading the virus. “Gambia is not a rich economy, fighting against a very deadly disease has a very strong implication for the society and we don’t want to spend all our money just to fight Covid. we want to advance other social development areas that are also very relevant to the society” he said.
According to him, Gambia has less coronavirus cases compared to other countries because of the collective effort of people and the government, therefore he encouraged every individual to continue to adhere to the coronavirus rules. He thanked the donor for the commendable contribution and also encouraged other charitable foundations to offer similar assistance to Gambians because as he put it “with government alone is going to be very difficult to raise to certain standard” considering that the “health sector is a very expensive area and is an area that consumes a lot of resources.”
Louie Moses Mendy, Permanent Secretary for the Ministry of Basic and Secondary Education (MoBSE) said, their Ministry is delighted to welcome the facemasks allocated to them which he believes will go a long way in supporting and complementing the efforts of the MoH. He emphasized that with the confirmation of the new variant, the Ministry is strengthening efforts, collaboration, inspection and monitoring, therefore, the donation will help them to reach out to schools that have exhausted their personal protective equipment, he lauded Ida Bass Kidney Foundation and assured that the facemasks will be distributed to all schools across the country.
Modou Lamin Bah, Public Relations Officer of Banjul City Council also extended gratitude on behalf of all other beneficiaries and said that the initiative is laudable because it will support the City Council to minimize the spread of coronavirus in Banjul. He highlighted that the facemasks will be distributed accordingly and called the donation the biggest donation of facemasks received by the City Council to date.
The Ida Bass Kidney Foundation was founded in 2013 by Sailey Frasrud following the diagnosis of her mother Ida Bass with End-Stage Renal Disease in The Gambia. The charitable foundation has since been working with the MoH to improve Kidney care in the country. It also developed new services and improved the outcomes for people with kidney disease.