Sunday, April 19, 2015

Oumie and Alagie: The invisible victims of Jammeh's bad policies

Oumie and Alhagie at the Bansang Hospital 

Needless to say that both these Gambian children, Oumie and Alhagie, are seriously ill.  Oumie is suffering from the nutritional disorder kwashiorkor and Alhagie is severely malnourised.  They are presently under the loving care of the stretched and strained but dedicated nursing staff of the Bansang Hospital.  Oumie and Alhagie are among the few lucky Gambian children in the Central River to receive treatment, and the attention necessary to see them to full recovery.

Tens of thousands not-so-lucky Gambian children are suffering from the same nutritional disorders because of lack of food, and are currently without medical care.  The best-in-Africa Primary Health Care System the dictator inherited from the previous government he replaced through a coup d'etat has been completely disseminated through ignorance, incompetence and corruption.

The Central River Region of the country is the most severely affected by hunger.  It is also the same region where the most intensive rice cultivation is taking place in what used to be communally- held land, and the ownership of which has now been taken over by the country's dictator.  The Patcharr rice fields, which were communal land, have also been annexed by the dictator

The illegal transfer of agricultural land is not only threatening the tradition tenure system that has held the communities together for centuries but it has also threatened the traditional food/nutritional supply chain by denying the local population access to agricultural land.  The same phenomenon is taken place in urban areas as well, where land is confiscated outright or less than fair price being offered for a landed property or risk going to jail or worse.

Poor agricultural policies, such as the ill-advised Vision 2016, has contributed immensely to the deteriorating state of Gambia's economy, resulting in severe food shortages in the rural areas and higher and unaffordable food prices in the urban centers.

There are several highly reputable and internationally-known NGOs operating in The Gambia. Please check their listings and support a worthy cause by contributing to any one of them.  Because of the repressive and vindictive nature of the regime in the Gambia, we cannot identify the NGOs by name for fear of reprisals.  We thank you in advance of your anticipated kind and generous contributions to your NGO of choice.