Banjul, GAMBIA

Thirty-eight Gambian health workers concluded a five-day training course on Friday by a Turkish aid agency on emergency response as the small African nation’s health ministry plans to set up its first national emergency service unit. 

The training, organized by the Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency (TIKA), concluded in the Gambian capital, Banjul.

Three doctors and two paramedics from Turkey conducted the training. The team was led by an official from the Turkish Health Ministry.

The training was the second since 2019 as Gambian authorities work to establish a national emergency services unit.

The first event trained 28 health workers who learned skills, including basic and advanced life support.

“We want to have a national emergency service unit. The training is to equip our health workers for that task. Now, we will select a number of people who are part of this training to train others,” said Dr, Abubacarr Jagne, the head of Gambia’s coronavirus treatment. “A training like this is very significant in improving our capacity for emergency preparedness.”

Abdoulie Bah, a Gambian doctor who participated, thanked Turkish officials for the opportunity.

“It is very difficult to travel during this time of the pandemic and you have taken the risk to give out all you have. We want to say thank you,” said Bah.

TIKA has been a longstanding partner of Gambia’s Health Ministry.

The agency has also supported Gambia’s virus response efforts through several projects.

It is currently working with the Health Ministry to build an oxygen plant, said the group’s Banjul coordinator, Mehmet Akif Eyigun.

“The proposed oxygen plant is expected to solve the problems of oxygen shortages in the health system in The Gambia,” he said.

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