Strategic Response Plan for The Gambia 2014-2016
- Track and analyse risk and vulnerability, integrating findings into humanitarian and development programming.
- Support vulnerable populations to better cope with shocks by responding earlier to warning signals, by reducing post-crisis recovery times and by building capacity of national actors.
- Deliver coordinated and integrated life-saving assistance to people affected by emergencies.
- Provide food assistance, nutritional support and agricultural inputs.
- Restore water systems and access to sanitation facilities in communities, schools and nutrition facilities.
- Re-establish and provide access to public health/clinical services with a focus on surveillance and early warning for diseases with epidemic potential.
- Improve access to education through creation of temporary learning spaces and strengthening national protection capacity (including prevention of gender-based violence and child protection).
- Strengthening early warning systems through training of personnel, data collection and processing and dissemination of results/findings.
Parameters of the response
The precise number of people in crisis in The Gambia has not been comprehensively assessed due to scanty information available. However, it is estimated that at least 370,454 people are in need of either immediate humanitarian assistance or remain vulnerable and require some sort of support to strengthen their resilience to future crises. This estimation is primarily based on projections of food insecurity situation following the Prevention and Management of Food Crises Network (PREGEC) assesment conducted in October 2013 and other factors are increases in commodity prices; resurgence of epidemics; prevalence of natural disasters; chronic shortage and limited access to basic social services.
A significantly high proportion of food insecure or vulnerable people, well above the national average levels, is found in West Coast Region, southern areas of the Central River Region, northern areas of Central River Region and in some parts of Lower River Region, with rates ranging from 8.4 % -17.2 %. Currently, approximately 103,000 food insecure people are supported through the World Food Programme (WFP) Protracted Relief and Recovery Operation (PRRO) 2013-2015. Furthermore, in 2014, the Food Security sector is targeting 105,000 beneficiaries with food assistance, agriculture and livestock support.
Based on the prioritization tool analysis, malnutrition is most prevalent in the Local Government Areas (LGA) of Kuntaur, Janjanbureh, Basse and Kerewan (all above the 10 % threshold). The LGA of Kuntaur has the highest proportion of severely stunted children, at 8.2 %. Significant variations in weight were observed among women in urban and rural settings. The highest number of underweight women is to be found in Janjanbureh (20.9 %) followed by Kuntaur (20.3 %) and Mansakonko (18.3 %), while the least affected LGA is Banjul (11.5 %). Approximately 48,627 malnourished children and 28,502 pregnant and lactating women will be supported in 2014.
Incidence of natural disasters and disease outbreaks is common in The Gambia. It is estimated that approximately 65 % of the land area in The Gambia, mainly along the Senegalese border and on major border crossing routes are at risk of cholera. In addition, the country lies in the meningitis belt and every year there are sporadic outbreaks in all regions especially in the east of the country, in the Upper and Central River Regions. According to the National Malaria Sentinel Surveillance System (NMSSS), the Malaria Programmatic Review (MPR) and the Health Information Management Service Statistics for 2012, malaria is endemic in all the districts therefore likely to affect the entire population. With regards to flooding, available analysis done by the National Disaster Management Agency (NDMA) indicates that at least 40,000 people are affected each year by floods, predominantly in the Greater Banjul Area. The incidence of diarrhoea in children at 14% leaves several children malnourished, while malaria ‑ a water related disease remain the leading cause of deaths among Gambian children ‑23%. Overall, WASH related deaths account for 20% of the underfive death.
Access to basic social services such as hospitals is a challenge to many families. For instance, the national requirement or target for Basic Emergency Obstetric Care (BEmOC) facilities is 14; yet currently there are only four BEmOC functional facilities countrywide. Moreover, while each of the seven regions in The Gambia has a hospital; the staffing is very poor and availability of adequate equipment limited. The health sector proposes to intervene by improving access to health services, capacity building of health personnel, life-saving drugs, disease surveillance and early warning systems, immunisation and BEmOC.