The big project is to achieve non-governmental organisation (NGO) status – the term used for an organisation that is neither a part of a government nor a for-profit business. The plan was to go in for NGO status after two years of existence – TCHC opened in September 2011 but this has proved too difficult to achieve. This has been delayed because of changes at the Ministry but to succeeed we need to:
- re formulate a Board of Governors
- establish some additional structures and facilities at the clinic such as an Expanded Programme of Immunisation (EPI) and ante-natal services.
When these are in place we will be moving in the right direction to achieve the dream of making the clinic the first ever children’s hospital but the text below outlines the many things that are needed and nothing happens fast in The Gambia.
However, one key development took place on the 3rd March 2014 when The Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the Tallinding Children’s Health Centre (TCHC) and the Gambian Ministry of Health was signed. The main objective of the MOU is to expand service delivery subject to regular monitoring.
Nearly two months after the signing of the MOU, on Tuesday the 6th May, 2014, TCHC management met the Regional Health Director to pass over a copy of the MOU and discuss the way forward. He was delighted and advised us to work in accordance to the agreements made in the MOU. Below is detail of the discussion:
- they stressed the need for the Centre to operate strictly within confines of what is agreed in the MOU
- they will be visiting the health facility regularly on their routine monitoring
- the Gambian Health Ministry will consider TCHC in terms of support in areas we need them whenever necessary.
In response, we assured them that we will observe the agreements made in the MOU and that we welcome regular monitoring.
We also reminded them about our intention to conduct the Expanded Programme of Immunisation (EPI) services at the facility. The Regional Health Director welcomed the idea stating that it will reduce the work load on the other health facilities but that can only be possible if certain structures are put in place with the man power to run such services. They also asserted that in order to conduct the EPI services we should take it alongside Reproductive and Child Health services (RCH); that is to attend to pregnant women (antenatal and postnatal services) and conduct deliveries.
This means we need a labour ward and a sizeable admission ward for admission before delivery and discharge after delivery in addition to the waiting shade for the EPI and the public health office. Once these structures are in place, the Ministry will provide the Centre with vaccines, required needles and syringes for the EPI services and the safety boxes for use needles and syringes free of charge.
There is now a project proposal to build an immunisation / vaccination centre; public health office and a vaccine store. This will allow us to move the lab out of the main building especially as so many samples are being taken to the lab which is currently located next to the ward.
These are all areas in which your contribution is paramount.THANK YOU!