EYEAFRICA TV: Banjul, The Gambia: The national assembly members expressed dissatisfaction in the dilapidated conditions in the country’s health and the agricultural sectors during the debate of the 2020 appropriation budget on Thursday.
Ndey Yassin Secka-Sallah, nominated member said: “The issue of prioritisation is very important. You go to the hospital, there are no good laboratories. Sometimes, you go to the hospital even to see the staff at the lap is a problem and still we are doing what we are doing for 52-years now. What is the essence of budget?”
She said people should think thoroughly as to how to manage state resources. “We are just using it as we like. So now it is high time for us the national assembly to do away with our political and our partisan views.”
Foday N. M. Drammeh, NAM for Tumana constituency, said, the allocation to the ministry of health is small saying his constituency is still having problems in accessing health facilities.
“Access to health centre in my constituency is a problem and is still a problem. And it is never address and I am seeing that this government don’t want to address it. So, we want the money that is allocated to the ministry of health to be increased.”
He said that access to health is not a privilege but a right and which should always want to demanded for it. Saying the budget is for everyone and should not be use as a tool to enrich themselves.
He said maternal and child health delivery is a problem in his constituency quoting the 2016 GBOS report which indicated that maternal mortality ratio was estimated at 706 deaths per every one thousand life births.
He added: “Is this not a course of concern to a country? Why should we be dying like flies? While we have money to spend in this sector. The 2013 population and housing census estimated 35 out of every 1, 000 children born alive will not live to celebrate their first birthday. Is this not a course of concern as citizen of this country and as a decision maker? please honourable members, can’t we look into this issue? Is this not an issue? Is Upper River Region not part of Gambia?”
He claimed there is only one doctor in the whole of URR with a population of 2,000 people. Adding that people have equal rights when it comes to the distribution of state resources.
On agriculture he said the sector has be declining over the over the years which is a concern.
Foday Gassama, nominated member, said the amount allocated for the ministry of agriculture is not promising.
“Agriculture is the backbone of the economy. We are always saying that we are empowering agriculture, we are empowering the youths. We have to implement it not just mere words. We have to be creative,” Mr Gassama stated.
Amadou Camara, NAM for Nianija, said: “If you ask me on the health, I will tell you that the only positive ones they are delivering is skilled birth deliveries and also immunization services. But if you look at the other indicators, they are not doing well. Let’s look at maternal mortality, we all know that it is not a hidden secret it is on the increase and definitely it is unacceptable.”
Story written by Juldeh Njie