BANJUL, The Gambia

Turkey’s state-run aid agency has initiated several activities to boost The Gambia’s fight to contain the coronavirus outbreak as the small West African country deals with a recent surge in infections.

The Gambia has seen about 70% rise in COVID-19 cases recently, registering 1,346 infections and 32 deaths as of Aug. 8. Almost 200 health workers, including over 30 doctors, tested positive for the virus.

The Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency (TIKA) donated The Gambia locally-produced face masks, handwashing stations, food aid and sanitary items to the Bundung Maternal and Child Health Hospital.

The first component of the initiative was launched around May when TIKA distributed 1,750 food parcels to needy families in The Gambia.

Few months later, the aid body donated sanitary materials to the Bundung hospital.

Meanwhile, a few weeks ago, it engaged the Gambia Technical Training Institute in making 45 handwashing stations for eight local government administrations across the country. The initiative is to encourage hand washing among the population as a measure to contain COVID-19.

And TIKA is currently in the process of locally producing 20,000 face masks to be distributed in the country.

“The Gambia has been a key partner of Turkey in the area of development cooperation. TIKA Banjul office is always ready to support the country especially during this hard time when the world is battling with COVID-19 pandemic,” said Mehmet Akif Eyigun, the agency’s Banjul coordinator.

TIKA started an office in Banjul in 2018 and it has since initiated several projects in the country.

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