Gambia’s Director of Health Services Denies Treatment Centres Are Full

EYEAFRICA TV: Banjul, THE GAMBIA: The Gambia’s Director of Health Services has refuted claims that the country’s treatment centres are full, resulting in the need to construct a tent at the independence stadium.

The country’s health system has come under stern focus recently as it battles a crippling effect from the coronavirus pandemic.

More cases are recorded daily, a good number of these are nurses, doctors and other healthcare workers – people who are directly involved in the fights against the virus which has now claimed 32 lives.

And as people who have been tested positive for the coronavirus are left alone at home for days before they are taken to treatment centres, social media users began speculating last week that these centres are full. But Mustapha Bittaye said that is not the case.

The field hospital at the stadium is for contingency purposes, Bittaye said of the new treatment centre which is under construction. The development came following a surge in the number of coronavirus cases in the country, he told Eye Africa TV on Tuesday.

He also said priority is given to patients with critical conditions than those with mild symptoms.

“There are people who test positive and are not sick, 80% of these people don’t need any treatment. It is just mild and moderate symptoms with a normal cough,” Bittaye said. “These types of cases don’t need big staff, the big staff will attend to those with serious conditions, those who require oxygen to breathe.”

The Gambia has seen a more than 70 percent increase in new coronavirus infections in recent weeks.

Although Bittaye could not confirm the exact number of beds the tent at the stadium will contain, he said it will be able to accommodate more than one hundred beds.

As of August 11, the total number of confirmed cases in the country stood at 1346, with 32 deaths and 227 recoveries, according to the Ministry of Health.

Tuesday’s report, which represents figures collected for August 8, shows the highest number of deaths (9) recorded in a single day since the outbreak of the virus. A capacity gap means The Gambia is 48 hours behind, in reporting daily coronavirus cases.

By Mariama Cham

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