Department of Public & Environmental Health, Gambia
The vision of the Department of Public & Environmental Health (DPEH) in Banjul, Gambia is the attainment of accessible quality health care for the Gambian population that would be a model in the Africa Region by the year 2020. It involves partners, donors, local and international agencies, interest groups and private sector in the Planning and Implementation of Health Services. The Gambia is located on the West African coast and extends about 400 km inland, with a population density of 97 persons per square kilometre. The public health service delivery system is three tier based on the primary health care strategy. Presently services are provided by 3 hospitals, 36 health facilities at the secondary level and 492 health posts at the primary level. Gambia's health sector has over the years been under great pressure due to a number of factors: the high population growth rate, inadequate financial and logistic support, shortage of adequately and appropriately trained health staff, high attrition rate and lack of efficient and effective referral system. Poverty and ignorance have led to inappropriate health seeking behaviours and contributed to ill health.
The goals of DPEH are:
- to develop sustainable Essential Care Packages for all levels of the health care delivery system,
- to provide required resources for efficient delivery of the essential care package, and
- to implement delivery of essential care packages at all levels.
The current projects are:
- overall training for research methodologies in all health training institutions; and
- community-supported health interventions such as Bamako Initiative, Baby Friendly Community Initiative with proven health benefits should be scaled up and extended to national coverage.
Others will be reviewed to make them more relevant and effective. For the desired sustainability and continuity to be realised, the need for effective community involvement in the planning and implementation of these programmes is paramount.
Links to the health workforce crisis
The mission of DPEH is provision of quality health care services within an enabling environment, delivered by appropriately and adequately trained, skilled and motivated personnel at all levels of care with the involvement of all stakeholders to ensure a healthy population. DPEH works to decentralize responsibility, authority and resources to Hospitals, Divisional Health Management Teams, Basic Health Facilities and Village Development Committees. It looks to improve organization and management of the health care delivery system. A Human Resource Development Plan will be formulated that will address the whole range of personnel functions, i.e. recruitment, pre and in-service training, deployment, promotion, transfer, leave, grievances procedures, pay and non-monetary benefits.
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