In October 2017, AO Alliance performed a needs assessment in The Gambia looking at what could be done in the short-term and long-term to improve the care of the injured. Dr Kebba Marenah, a Gambian national and surgeon trained in trauma and orthopedic surgery, was on the verge of returning home from the UK after his training. The problem was finding a partner NGO and funding to support his ambitions for The Gambia.
A little over 18 months have passed since then. Through the generous contribution of the AO Foundation and a collaboration with its Clinical Division AOTrauma, a three-year program to implement a trauma care system will get under way in 2019. The ultimate objective: improving the care of those getting injured in this west African country.
The Gambia is a sliver of a country sandwiched within Senegal. It suffers from the double burden of injury: communicable diseases remain rampant, and rapid urbanization has created many injuries. There is an increasing diaspora returning to The Gambia wanting to make a difference. Kebba Marenah is one of them.
Kodi Kojima, Chair of the AOTrauma International Board, said the Board’s decision was unanimous to support the initiative. Additional third-party funding will be explored. The building block will be a stakeholder meeting to build the trauma care plan for the country.
AO Alliance Board member, Abdoulie Janneh, a Gambian national, has fought hard to get this going with the Minister of Health and local administrators.
Activities for 2019 are being planned.