The Minister of Health and Social Welfare, Hon. Omar Sey on Friday presided over the launching and signing of the Japanese Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) Project in The Gambia at a ceremony held at the Sanatorium in Banjul.
Speaking at the occasion, Minister Sey stated that the current outbreak of Ebola Virus Disease in West Africa is the largest and most complex Ebola outbreak since the Ebola virus was discovered in 1976.
He pointed out that on August 8 2014, the World Health Organisation Director General declared the West Africa outbreak a Public Health Emergency of International Concern under the International Health Regulations 2005.
Minister Sey noted that in order to be prepared to respond to all acute public health emergencies including a potential Ebola virus disease event, The Gambia reviewed and enhanced its national public health emergency preparedness and response plan and national command and coordination structure.
He said a number of EVD preparedness and response activities have been implemented in readiness to promptly respond to an EVD outbreak.
EVD Project1Under the leadership of Ministry of Health and Social Welfare in collaboration with various partners, he said, the National Ebola Task Force was formed to provide the strategic leadership, guidance and coordination of all preparedness and response activities in The Gambia.
The Health Minister further stated that the Government of The Gambia under the dynamic leadership of President Jammeh has given due attention and support to the health sector over the years and the Gambian leader has personally supported the Ebola prevention efforts in The Gambia.
He described the launching and signing ceremony of the Japanese Ebola project as timely and said that it will further help in their efforts to build on the already registered success.
Takashi Kitahara, the Ambassador of Japan to The Gambia stated that in 2014, the Ebola epidemic in West African countries caused over 11000 of deaths.
Fortunately, he said, The Gambia has been Ebola Free but Ebola fears caused serious damage to the Gambian economy, particularly to its tourism.
Ambassador Kitahara added; “The project for Reinforcement of Prevention and Control of Febrile Illnesses”, for which the Japanese Embassy and the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare have signed the contract is a donation from the Japanese Government to supply 3 themography equipment worth 95,000 US dollars for the Banjul International Airport.
He revealed that the project “Support to National Ebola Prevention and Preparedness in The Gambia”, is planned and implemented by UNDP through Japanese financial contribution which amounts to 1,600,000 US dollars aimed to complement The Gambia’s National Ebola Virus Disease plan through a one-year programme.
At the end of the ceremony, the Japanese Ambassador to The Gambia His Excellency Takashi Kitahara handed over keys of four new Ambulances and 20 Motorbikes to the Minister of Health for his Ministry to strengthen its fight against Ebola in The Gambia.