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   Information Center The Gambia
The Gambia General Information
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Healthcare in The Gambia

The healthcare system in Gambia is built around three levels, which are Primary, Secondary and Tertiary. There are to date four referral hospitals which are operated by the government. In addition there are eight main health centres and a further 16 smaller centres, 200 plus mobile clinic unit teams as well as the Medical Research Council which is funded by the UK Government. There are also a number of privately run clinics as well as a few health focused NGOs operating in Gambia.

Primary healthcare is focused on villages with a population of over 400 individuals where a Village Health Worker and Traditional Midwife would be initially trained then assigned to deliver primary healthcare to their village of responsibility. They are responsible for providing out-patient care, community health education, ensuring there is a sufficient level of essential medicines and home visitations. Apart from the assisting mothers to be in home births the mid-wife would refer any mothers who seem to be at risk to the local health centres.

At the Secondary level, healthcare is provided by the large and small health centres. There are around seven main government-run/private health centres, 12 smaller centres and 19 pharmacies, with each providing in-patient and out-patient treatment. Each has its resident nurses, doctors and ancillary staff.

Tertiary healthcare services are delivered by four main referral hospitals, the Medical Research Council (MRC), several private clinics and NGO operated clinics. The main referral hospital is at the RVTH in the capital on Independence Drive. The other three are located at Bansang, Farafenni and Bwiam.

Public expenditure was at 1.8% of the GDP in 2004, whereas private expenditure was at 5.0%. Infant mortality was at 97 per 1,000 births in 2005. There were 11 physicians per 100,000 persons in the early 2000s. Life expectancy at birth was at 59.9 for females in 2005 and for males at 57.7.

According to the World Health Organisation in 2005, an estimated 78.3% of Gambia's girls and women have suffered female genital mutilation.

A group called Power Up Gambia operates in The Gambia to provide solar power technology to health care facilities, ensuring greater access to electricity.





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