Nurses and doctors across The Gambia are providing life-saving support to patients thanks to the generosity of colleagues across NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde.
12 hospitals across the West African state have received life-saving defibrillators, anaesthesia machines and ultra-sound equipment following an appeal from Staff Nurse Mai Drammeh, originally from The Gambia, and now a nurse with NHS 24 based in Cardonald, Glasgow.
Mai, who qualified as a nurse four years ago, said the donation was an expression of the solidarity shown by medical teams as the world marks International Nurses’ Day.
She said: “Having seen the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, I approached NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde to help support Gambian hospitals to cope with the pandemic in whatever way possible. There are hospitals in the Gambia on the brink of collapsing. They are in dire need of help in any form or shape.
“The response I received was phenomenal. NHSGGC has donated life-saving equipment and these machines have filled gaps in 12 hospitals across the Gambia and are making an impact already, improving delivery of quality care in hospitals. I have spoken to hospital administrators who have expressed their joy on receiving this equipment.”
NHSGGC donated equipment which was due for routine replacement, or an upgrade, but was still in good working order and deemed surplus to requirements. This includes 24 defibrillators, one portable defibrillator, 12 suction units, four anaesthesia machines with monitors, one ECG machine, a bladder ultrasound machine and a physiotherapy ultrasound therapy unit.
Ousman Ceesay, a Senior Nursing Officer in charge of the operating theatre of the Kanifing General Hospital in Serrekunda, The Gambia, said: “The health care system in The Gambia is faced with severe shortages. Where I work, the anaesthetic machine will be a life saver – currently we have one machine which works and another with a faulty ventilator.
“The donated items are earmarked for accident and emergency units and operating theatres and will be of huge benefit to patient safety and care.”
Ousman said that support of colleagues in Glasgow would not only improve health services across the country, but allow medical staff to further their knowledge and experience by using better technology. He said that he was overwhelmed by the generosity and added: “It is important to have solidarity among nurses because that will help us understand that we are not alone in the struggle and we can always do better together - thank you.”
Mai, who gave up a career in corporate business administration in London to become a nurse, added: “International Nurses’ Day is especially important this year because it has brought to light the recognition of the undisputable role nurses play every day, especially during the pandemic.”
Angela O’Neill, Deputy Director of Nursing (Acute) at NHSGGC said: “In a year like no other, the pressures faced by our teams in the response to COVID have been unlike anything we have ever seen. What has been remarkable is the way that our nurses and colleagues have worked together to meet those challenges head-on, continuing to provide outstanding care for our patients and those who matter to them.
“Nurses the world over do their level best for their patients, but we know that some other countries face additional issues due to shortages that we find hard to imagine. I want to particularly thank Mai and our many teams, particularly the Medical Physics team who have worked together to provide solidarity and support to our colleagues in The Gambia.
“In a time of crisis, showing support to others in need is more important than ever.”
Pictured: Mai and Fiona Holland from NHSGGC Medical Physics Team.