The National Health Insurance Authority on Tuesday began a three-day meeting to discuss the development of a health benefits package for the National Health Insurance Scheme across the country. The meeting brought together medical and health experts to map out targeted disease or service areas, for the essential healthcare package. The Minister of Health Dr. Amadou Lamin Samateh said the Authority is engaging medical and health experts to identify critical areas under the scheme. He said the development of the scheme will accelerate efforts to meet SDG 2030. The health minister also said that the Health Insurance Scheme would be available to both the public and private health facilities. The World Health Organization’s country representative Dr. Desta Tiruneh advised participants to consider the benefits package in line with available resources for health care service delivery.
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The Ministry of Health has lifted the suspension of public health officers. In a letter addressed to the Director of health promotion and education, the ministry called on all concerned public and environment health officers affected by the suspension to return to work from the 1st August 2022. Three hundred and seventy-one public and environment health officers were suspended without salary following a dispute over unpaid allowances. The public and environment health officers went on a prolonged sit-down strike crippling services at several health facilities.
The Minister of Health Dr. Ahmadou Lamin Samateh and his Senegalese counterpart, Abdoulaye Diouf Sarr on Sunday presided over the launch of a joint cross-border bed net distribution campaign. The event was held in Karang Senegal and is part of efforts to curb Malaria infections in the Senegambia region. The initiative would provide over two million bed nets for people in the Gambia and fourteen million in Senegal. The National Malaria Control Programme and the Catholic Relief Services will embark on a nationwide distribution of the bed nets. Speaking at a grand ceremony in Karang, the Minister of Health Dr. Ahmadou Lamin Samateh said the initiative is part of the two governments' commitment to eliminate malaria in the Senegambia region by 2030. The Gambia according to the Health Minister has made significant gains in reducing malaria infections. The Senegalese Minister of Health Abdoulaye Joof Sarr joined his Gambian counterpart to advise beneficiaries to make the best use of the bed nets saying the initiative is crucial in the fight against Malaria. Baba Balajo of the Catholic Relief Services said CRS will continue to provide long-lasting Insecticide-treated Bed nets to people at risk of malaria. Beneficiaries thanked the two governments and their partners for their relentless efforts in the fight against Malaria. According to the WHO, over six hundred thousand people died of malaria in 2020, and 95 percent of these deaths were in the Africa region. The report also indicated that more than two-thirds of the figure occurred in children less than five years.
The ministry of health on Thursday inaugurated the board of directors of the national health insurance scheme authority. The board is headed by Doctor Melville O. George. Speaking at the event the minister for health doctor Ahmadou Lamin Samateh said this move is long conceived by the government. The scheme is set to pay for the health services bills of a person who receives health care within the minimum benefit package from a health care services provider contracted under the scheme among other vital areas. The health minister said this has been a key priority of the Barrow government. The National Health Insurance Scheme Bill 2021 has been passed by the National Assembly. The Scheme if available, will reduce out-of-pocket expenditure on the health of communities. Authorities say the World Bank and the Gambia government will put the needful in place for the successful implementation of the National Health Insurance Scheme
The First Lady, Her Excellency Madam Fatou Bah Barrow received Binti Period, a UK based charity organisation with offices in India, US and The Gambia at her office in Banjul. Binti was leading the way to eradicate period shame whilst normalizing the menstrual conversation so that women do not suffer needlessly with menstrual health issues. The organisation conducted trainings for 100 teachers in Region 1 and 2 on menstrual education. The Chief Executive Officer and founder of the Binti Period Manjit K Gill MBE told the first lady that the trainings of teachers will be extended to all 7 Regional Education Directorates. She said the organization’s first training objective was to smash the stigma and shame attached to menstruation in line with this year’s theme for International Women’s Day2022. She also shared with the first lady Binti’s plan to introduce menstrual pads accessible to all girls in The Gambia. This will further ensure that girls do not drop out of school during puberty and instead finish their education. Manjit is also campaigning globally for the provision of period products to be available in all public places.Honourable Alagie Jawara, the National Assembly member for Lower Badibu Constituency said that Binti signed an MOU with the Ministry of Basic and Secondary Education to deliver and include Menstrual Health as part of its school curriculum. Baba S Touray, a representative of the Ministry of Basic and Secondary Education shared with the First Lady the partnership between the organization and the Ministry of Basic and Secondary Education.First Lady Fatou Bah Barrow thanked the team for visiting her office and promised to continue to support Binti. She applauded them for all the work they have been and continue to do in the country. First Lady said the idea of having reusable period products is welcoming as this will ensure access to period products for many girls and women.Apart from its teacher trainings Binti refurbished its adopted school, Latrikunda Yiringaya Lower Basic School including a school library, and a kitchen feeding 1500 children. It donated books worth 25, 000 pounds sterling distributed to a number of schools. Binti also constructed a building at Kerewan Health Centre in the North Bank Region.