BY: Muhammed Barrow
The community of TABANANI is predominantly a Fula speaking language grouping. As accustomed in rural Gambian villages, the people of TABANANI depend highly on farming, as a source of their livelihood. Before the arrival of the Tri-cycle Ambulance, they used to travel for 3km to reach Kwinella Health Facility. In addition, the community of TABANANI are not privileged to access basic facilities which has exposed them to lack of access to good roads, difficulty in accessing Major Referrals health facilities, just to name a few.
Notwithstanding, they had the opportunity to be part of the Maternal Child Health Nutrition Result Project (MCHNRP) in 2017, and are among the second batch of communities to benefit in LRR. This inclusion in the project triggered a Participatory Rapid Appraisal (PRA) in the community, which was coordinated by the Department of Community Development field staff. After a successful PRA led by the community members, several needs were highlighted amongst which was the lack of an Ambulance for the referral of patients to Kwinella Health facility.
TABANANI before the Project
The women of TABANANI find it very difficult to get their basic needs. They find it extremely difficult to evacuate sick patients most especially pregnant mothers and the weak, who are carried on donkey carts as the means of transportation in the village. This means of transporting pregnant mothers and the weak, has always been risky for both mother and the child, which has led to high rate of maternal and child mortality in the community.
‘‘My name is Gidda Jawo and I am the secretary of the Village Development Committee (VDC). We are very contented at the moment, because we have been waiting for this day for years now. Our women have suffered during labour, to the extent that some even lose their lives at times, on their way to Soma Major Health facility. We are thankful to NaNa for this development,” she said.
What is the Change
The acquisition of a Tri-Cycle Ambulance through the MCHNRP, is a great accomplishment for the inhabitants of TABANANI. This is revealed by the facts gathered from people in the community. According to most of them, this development did not only come to improve their livelihood, but to save their lives.
The newly purchased Tri-Cycle Ambulance is regarded by many as the most significant change achieved. The plan now is to construct a security house for the tri-cycle.
How did it Start
A sensitization program coordinated by the Regional Health Team (RHT), was conducted in the community where members regardless of gender or age, gathered. The forum revealed to the community that they are part of the project and highlighted how they were selected. The VDC and Village Support Group (VSG) were trained as the coordinators of the project at village level, to perform their duty as expected. After their training, the coordinators were task to train the rest of the community most importantly women and girls, between the ages of 15 to 49.
The Department of Community Development then conducted a PRA where all the people were gathered to identify problems hindering their lives and livelihood. Among the priorities was the provision of a tri-cycle Ambulance as their major concern.
When the PRA was analysed and documented, a contract was signed between the people of TABANANI and RHD which incorporated some indicators to be followed and for the community to be paid some cash in accordance with the results from the assessment and verification team. The contract includes a business plan which indicates the community’s problems according to priority. Money generated from the project will be used to fund other sub-projects.
Despite registering enormous success from the project, the people of TABANANI highlighted some challenges during the process, some of which still exists. These include:
Delay of project funds making it difficult during the implementation process as the payment was done by installment.
Sometimes expected to score high in the LQAS which turns to low scores resulting to de-motivate the concerned inhabitants.
High cost incurred on the tri-cycle Ambulance as a priority project