By Binta S. Jawo
The Gambia’s Ministry of Health (MoH) concluded its validation of its five-year Health Sector Strategic Plan 2021 – 2025 on Saturday 26th March 2022. The validation workshop started on Friday 25th March 2022 at Kairaba Beach Hotel. According to the MoH “the Strategic Plan is expected to guide in reforming the health system by addressing the major traditional problems of health, the new and emerging health challenges, and putting in place measures to respond to emergencies. It is expected to reduce the burden of communicable and non-communicable diseases by addressing major risk factors including tobacco use, unhealthy diet, physical inactivity and harmful used of alcohol”.
During his welcoming remarks, the Deputy Director of Health Services Dr Momodou T. Nyassi underlined the importance of the validation of the Strategic Plan. In his view, the Strategic Plan will guide the implementation of the new Health Policy 2021-2030 validated two months ago.
Dr Nyassi revealed that the Health Sector is facing challenges in controlling some of the communicable and non-communicable diseases such as diarrhoea, upper respiration tract Infection and tuberculosis to name a few. “Most of these diseases can easily be prevented if appropriate environmental and lifestyle measures are taken, with more attention paid to the development of Health Promotion and Prevention actions than merely focusing on curative care alone” he added.
Delivering the keynote address on behalf of the Minister of Health, Permanent Sectary 2 Mr Lamin Dampha emphasized the significance of the Strategic Plan as it will foster effective partnerships amongst stakeholders in the health sector. Mr Dampha also noted that the development of partners and communities is key in harnessing new technical and financial resources for the health sector.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO) which tweeted about the event the Strategic Plan is the “backbone of the heath Sector” and “provides the overarching framework and direction for various programs within the health sector as well as development partners”.
Speaking at the validation workshop on behalf of the WHO Representative in the Gambia, Dr Kassa Mohammed calls for more partnerships to ensure that Universal Health Coverage (UHC) is attained. He reiterated the importance of collaboration in validating such an important document and the need for better Dialogue and commitment rather than a mere document.