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National Health Insurance Authority develop health benefit package for the National Health Insurance Scheme

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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Ministry of health lifts suspension on striking public and environment health officers

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.

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Gambia and Senegal launch a joint cross-border Insecticide-treated bed net distribution campaign

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.

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THE MINISTRY OF HEALTH STRIVES TO IMPROVE ACCESS TO HEALTHCARE

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  

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First Lady applaud Binti Period

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.

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Latest Updates

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GINA SIGNS QCELL ENDORSEMENT DEAL

 Gina Mariam Bass Bittaye has signed an endorsement deal with Qcell Gambia Limited to become their global brand ambassador. She is preparing to return to Paris for a training camp ahead of the Paris Olympics, where she will join over 10,000 athletes competing in various track and field events from July 26 to August 11, 2024.

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Gambia Beat Seychelles 5-1 To Register First Win Since June 2023

The Scorpions of the Gambia, who last recorded a win (3-2) against S. Sudan - in AFCON Qualifiers in Egypt on June 14, 2023, ended their six-game winless run as they registered a comprehensive 5 - 1 win over Seychelles in round three of the 2026 FIFA World Qualifiers. Muhammed Badamosi scored a brace, and Musa Barrow netted a penalty with Yankuba Minteh and debutant Adama Sidibeh, each scoring once in a tie played in Morocco due to the ban on Gambia's Stadium by both CAF and FIFA for lack of standards.Henriette scored the consolation for the struggling Seychelles, who are still without a win in the 2026 World Cup Qualifiers after three games.Coach Jonathan McKinstry started his mission with a convincing victory as he sent a strong statement of intent about his ambition of transforming Gambia's style of football (from a defensive to a more proactive approach) in what was his first game as the Scorpions coach.The Gambia will travel to Franceville to take on Gabon in round four of the World Cup Qualifiers on June 11 2024.

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PRESIDENT BARROW VISITS CRR INDUSTRIAL SITES

President Adama Barrow continues his tour of industrial sites in the Central River Region with a visit to the Hamidou Jah Farm in Baya Bah in Sami District and the Swami Gambia Banana plantation in Lower Fulladu District.The tour accorded President Barrow the opportunity to assess first-hand the impact of these investments on the agricultural sector.Central River Region is steadily becoming the breadbasket of the country as private sector investors are changing The Gambia's agriculture landscape with a renewed focus on commercializationHamidou Jah is a business tycoon known in business circles as one of the most successful oil and general merchandise dealers. After making his fortune in business, Hamidou is now trying his hand at farming.He has just acquired a 120-hectare piece of land in Baya Bah, some 15km from the main Passamas Laminkoto Highway.President Barrow has made agricultural mechanization and commercialization a key pillar of his government's policy, with its potential to lead economic growth, enhance food security and create employmentMr Jah has already put up a team of agricultural experts from the Gambia and Pakistan, who are now working to transform his piece of land into one of the most productive.The President recognized Hamidou Jah's passion and his potential to contribute to the country's national food security, which has now become more urgent, given the current global dynamics.H.E. Adama Barrow tasked all the relevant government agencies to provide the private sector with the necessary support to help them realize their goals.The President and delegation also visited the Swami Gambia banana plantation in CRR South where he was briefed on the operations by the General Manager Mansukh Bhudiya.President Barrow was taken on a conducted tour of the farm; visiting the nursery shed where the right varieties are nursed under the suitable conditions and the water treatment and supply system which sources water from the River Gambia.The innovative, cost-effective and sustainable farming system has made the Swami banana plantation a model for farmers. It currently has 450 thousand plants, also making it the largest plantation in the country.The President said he is highly impressed with this model, and thanked the Swami Gambia management and staff for the work. The farm employs over 200 workers, mostly women, from Buruko and the neighbouring villages. The farm is expected to reach full capacity with an annual production of 8000 tons.

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AFCON 2025 DRAW: THE GAMBIA TO FACE TUNISIA AND OTHERS

The Scorpions of The Gambia are drawn alongside Comoros, Madagascar, and Tunisia in Group A, as they hope to make a third successive return to the AFCON. 48 teams are drawn into 12 groups of four. Teams will play each other in a home and away fixture, and the top two teams in each group will qualify for the tournament. For a group that consists of the host, Morocco, they will qualify alongside the team that finishes above the remaining teams in the group.The qualifiers are set to start in early September and end in November 2024.

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Gambia's New Coach Hopeful Of Positive Start

Jonathan McKinstry, the new coach of the Gambia National Male Football Team, eyes starting his reign as the Scorpions coach on a positive note when the Gambia take on Seychelles. "We are looking for a good performance against Seychelles on Saturday," he said."I've got a very clear idea about how I believe the team can play. It aligns very well with my philosophy on the game.""It's very much for square pegs for square holes. We want players to play in positions they are very much comfortable with. We want them to do what they are best at. What they are doing for their clubs week in and week out," Jonny said in an interview with the GFF Media. The Gambia lost their first two games against Ivory Coast and Burundi in the World Cup Qualifiers. The Northern Irish tactician can send a positive impression if he is able to register a victory against Seychelles, who also lost their first two games in the 2026 World Cup Qualifiers.The Gambia will play against Seychelles on June 8 in Morocco before travelling to Franceville to take on Gabon in what will be Jonathan McKinstry's second game in charge of the Scorpions.

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ACHPR CONVENES 79th ORDINARY SESSION

African Commission on Human and People’s Rights convened the opening of the 79th ordinary session of the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights. The convention in Banjul, brought dignitaries and stakeholders across the African continent to discuss thematic matters for the sustainability of human rights advocacy.The 79th session of the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights unveils a crucial theme anchored on ‘Educating an African fit for human rights.’The speech of Remy Ngoy Lumbu, chairperson of ACHPR, centred on the unrest and conflicts facing the African continent. He cited challenges affecting women, such as sexual violence and discrimination, as he urged the Gambia government to scale up efforts to repeal FGM laws.Addressing the convention, Dr. Mamadou Tangara, Gambia’s Foreign Affairs MinisterSaid the Gambia government is committed to promoting human rights to boost reforms that include the implementation of plans presented by the Truth Commission - TRRC.For over two decades of dictatorship, the Gambia under former President Yahya Jammeh witnessed a pervasive system of forceful disappearances and extrajudicial executions that required effective transitional justice and reforms to reshape the country’s emerging democracy.As enshrined in the Charter of the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights, the commission is moving to strengthen human rights structure and mechanisms alongside the promotion of friendly settlement of disputes grappling the African continent.ACHPR is a charter established by the African Union to advocate for human rights, democracy and good governance on the continent. The commission has built a robust legacy of transformative impact, empowering individuals and organizations. 

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