Enhancing Healthcare Accessibility: Handover of Oxygen Plant and Generator in The Gambia

May 2, 2023

Handing over keys to Oxygen Plant in Ndemban Clinic by UNDP and Contractor to Hospital administrator

Photo: Rohey Samba-Jallow, UNDP, 2023.

The Ndemban Duplex Oxygen plant and the Diesel backup Generator, located in Edward Francis Small Teaching Hospital – also called Ndemban Clinic, Bakau, have successfully completed testing. Today, the contractor officially handed over the keys to the Oxygen plant and the Generator Room to the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare of The Republic of the Gambia. With this handover, the hospital's delegated personnel now have the capability to operate the plant and generator at full capacity. This ensures the accessibility of sustainable health services by providing a reliable source of oxygen for the hospital. The COVID-19 pandemic has had far-reaching consequences in The Gambia, causing significant disruptions that have negatively impacted communities, local and national economies, and various systems.

These impacts have disproportionately affected marginalized communities and vulnerable individuals, highlighting evident inequalities. In response, the country has drawn upon lessons learned from the successful implementation of the National Ebola Virus Disease Plan (NEVDP, 2025) and aligned its efforts with the National Disaster Plan of The Gambia. The initial phase of the COVID-19 Project (March – December 2020) served as a foundation for subsequent interventions, enabling efficient resource allocation and swift response to mitigate the health and socio-economic repercussions of the pandemic on the population. 

Photo: Rohey Samba-Jallow, UNDP, 2023

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the UNDP Country Office has played a crucial role in providing comprehensive support and response in line with UNDP's Corporate offer. The focus of this support has been on Health System Support, Inclusive and Integrated Crisis Management and Response, as well as conducting assessments to address the social and economic impact of the crisis.

One significant aspect of this support has been UNDP's procurement of health equipment, including an oxygen machine for the Ndemban Clinic in The Gambia. This initiative has had a profound impact on the population by improving access to essential healthcare services.

At the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020, none of the public hospitals in The Gambia had access to medical oxygen, and a majority of the health workforce were not adequately trained on its usage. Consequently, The Gambia had to rely solely on imports from Senegal and Banjul Oxygen to fill the gap in the oxygen supply system during the pandemic.

However, with the support of UNDP, the installation of an oxygen machine at the Ndemban Clinic has significantly addressed this critical deficit. Now, the healthcare facility can produce its own oxygen, ensuring a reliable and sustainable source for patients in need. This development has not only strengthened the healthcare system's capacity but also reduced dependence on external sources, contributing to improved healthcare accessibility for the people of The Gambia.