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MCAI ends Gambian Programme after 13 years of life-saving support

News       Gambia

20 June 2019

On 31 st October 2018, MCAI finalised our planned exit from The Gambia after 13 years of life-saving support.

Since February 2005, MCAI, and our partner ALSG, have worked in the Basse, Brikama, and Essau regions of The Gambia, covering a population of > 500,000 people.

Below is a summary of our main achievements:

MCAI and ALSG have provided large amounts of essential drugs, medical and surgical
supplies and surgical instruments to the 3 hospitals/major health centres in which we have been working (Basse, Essau, and Brikama).

MCAI and ALSG have also provided emergency equipment such as portable ultrasound
scanners, oxygen concentrators, pulse oximeters and neonatal platform incubators for

We have provided 750 MCAI textbooks for doctors and other front-line health workers in all hospitals and major health centres in The Gambia.
We have renovated and refurbished maternity wards, labour and delivery units, operating
theatres, and children’s wards.
Working with traditional birth attendants and ambulance drivers, we have organised
emergency transport systems to increase the number of births undertaken in hospitals.
In addition, international volunteers ( 4 paediatricians, 3 obstetricians, 2 midwives and 2
anaesthetists) have worked alongside Gambian health workers on the frontline in maternity and paediatric wards to enhance care and provide apprenticeship-based training.
Advocacy for the use of misoprostol and magnesium sulphate in managing obstetric
emergencies resulted in widespread availability of these drugs in The Gambia.
Short courses on the safe use of morphine for pain control and palliative care were
undertaken and systems to distribute this controlled drug were put in place.
Advocacy concerning the identification and management of the abuse of children and of
women was undertaken, including a one day course on child protection for senior health

From 2006 to 2014, approximately 940 health workers underwent training. The following
courses were undertaken:

  • 3 day training in emergency maternal and neonatal healthcare (EMNH) for doctors, midwives and medical students. 

  • 3 day training in emergency child and major trauma care (ECTH) for doctors and nurses.

  • 3 day training in basic hospital care of the newborn infant (NCC). 

  • 2 day generic instructor course for attendants on the above course who achieved high results and who manifest enthusiasm and aptitude to become ALSG instructors.  


For the past 5 years, MCAI has been advocating for the Gambian Ministry of Health and the Gambian Medical and Dental to adopt a task-sharing approach to help address the high maternal and neonatal mortality rates in the country. Unfortunately, to date, this approach has not been supported but we hope that it will be in the future. If MCAI can assist in implementing the task-sharing approach, we remain willing to do so.

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