Gambia’s Horizons project takes off

Fri, 24 Feb 2012

One of the most important projects arising from the collaboration between the EAU and the Pan-African Urological Surgeons’ Association (PAUSA) is Horizons, a project initiated by Prof. James N’Dow which aims to improve the quality of health care in Gambia.

Based on the principles of self-sustainability and social impact, Horizons was initiated by N’Dow, who described himself as a “proud Gambian who is also part of the problem of Africa,” since he left for Scotland 25 years ago. N ‘Dow, who spoke yesterday during the joint EAU-PAUSA session, said he started working on the Horizons project out of frustration.

The lack of improvement in the quality of Sub-Saharan health care that N’Dow witnessed prompted him to believe that charity alone has failed as a long-term solution. With more emphasis on collaborative efforts, Horizons started to take shape three years ago and since then has been supported by key stakeholders.

N’Dow: “The project has been awarded prime land by the Gambian government, is supported by a number of Gambian ministries, and has secured the support of the African Development Bank, which are all major milestones.”

Moreover, organisations such as WHO Gambia, Global Health Workforce Alliance, and the University of Aberdeen have pledged their support. With the Gambian people, the business community and international philanthropic funding, construction of the Horizons Clinic can start later this year.

The Clinic will enable Horizons to meet its long-term goal of making a “major contribution towards increased access to affordable high quality healthcare for all Gambians.” It will deliver wide-ranging charitable activities focusing on maternal health, infant care, training of healthcare professionals, capacity building, and developing an equipment and maintenance strategy.

N’Dow made it clear that the time to act in Sub-Saharan Africa is now. But, despite the grim statistics and his own experience, N’Dow said improved health care in Gambia is achievable and the way to do it is through the Horizons project.

“Although it is a difficult task, finding and implementing relevant, cost-effective, and sustainable solutions for the immediate and long-term needs in Gambia can be possible,” N’Dow noted.