By Mustapha Jallow

The Red Cross Societies of The Gambia, Senegal and Guinea Bissau in collaboration with the International Committee of the Red Cross, last week hosted the annual cross border simulation.

This time, the exercise was held at the Farafenni-Keree Ayip border post.

It was designed to tackle issues affecting the society in responding to emergencies for any unforeseen situations. During the exercise, the place was in full with residents, passers-by and children within the neighbouring.

Declaring his opening statement, the Governor of North Bank Region said there are capacity gaps from Government that needs to be tackled.

Ebrima Dampha said that medical staffs at the hospital are not effectively and adequately trained to handle emergencies of such nature.

He also bemoaned the challenges faced by the immigration there including a situation where only one officer was present and took everybody’s details under pressure including a madman.

Mr. Wandipha Samateh,  CEO of Farafenni General Hospital said he was aware of the simulation exercise but deliberately kept it from his clinical staff in order to have the most accurate response as health workers should be prepared round the clock for everything.

He said that the simulation for Ebola requires a multi-stakeholder approach and that it shows both positive and negative gaps that need to be addressed.

Mr. Buba Darboe, Acting Secretary General, Gambia Red Cross Society said: ‘‘I was impressed with this year’s simulation exercise.’’

Mr Darboe said lack of awareness about the simulation exercise has resulted in people misconstruing the exercise as an armed conflict, but that it was rather a population movement.

‘‘Our Immigration posts still uses manual form of data entry which needs to be improved as we are in the twenty-first century and the global world where everything needs to be digitalized,’’ he said.

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