|Dr Ammar Al-Jafari with Zeinab Jammeh at the main Hospital|
Dr. Ammar Al-Jafari, a Syrian national, was among a dozen Syrian doctors who arrived in The Gambia at the height of the Syrian civil war which raised eyebrows.
The Syrian doctor was guest of the Joint Committee (audit arm) of the National Assembly, known as PAC/PEC, last April when he openly complained about the inadequate budget of the hospital. He revealed to an uneasy Committee that the hospital is hamstrung by the sheer number of patients referred nationally which has risen to 1,600 daily which has forced him to spend D 2 million monthly.
Dr. Al-Jafari also complained about the procurement process is also preventing him to procure medication in a timely fashion because every request would have to pass through the Ministry and the Procurement Agency further adding to the delay. He, however, informed the Committee that this has become less of a problem now that Jammeh has personally approved purchasing emergency medication without going through all the huddles or waiting for approval.
After informing members of the parliamentary Committee that the budget of the hospital has been stretched beyond the limits, and proceeded to say that for the hospital for function he would need a budget of D 4 million a month or D 48 million a year. This amount represent 50% less than what the regime spends on a single official social gathering or a traditional dancing or wrestling match that is frequently organized for the entertainment pleasure of the Gambian dictator.
It is no doubt that these revelations have embarrassed Jammeh and his regime for its failure to provide adequate budgetary support to Gambia's main referral hospital in-spite of the lip-service paid to the social services that the regime prides itself.