JAR as fondly referred to is an annual event that accords the Ministry and stakeholders an opportunity to take stock of the challenges with a view to mapping out recommendations to address challenges.

It is also designed to assess the performance of various programme areas, region and hospitals over the past years and provide relevant information for policy and planning purposes. This annual reviews have been viewed as a key component in many countries as it became a popular mechanism for improving donor and partners’ coordination with a view to creating an enabling environment for an efficient and responsive health system.

The theme for this year’s event is ‘building partnerships for effective communication and evidence-based performance to achieve universal health coverage’

 The outcome helps guide health programmes and address priorities in achieving strategic objectives set out in the national Health Sector Strategic Plan 2021 -2025.

Welcoming the gathering, Mustapha Bittaye, Director of Health Services, described the event as an important one in the lifecycle of the programmes and activities of the ministry.

The event, he added, accorded them the opportunity to take stock of the activities as well how well the ministry had fared in the past years.

“It also gives us the opportunity to interact with different partners and stakeholders so that they know what we have been engaged and also have their inputs on what should be done.”

He urged participants to give their candid and frank inputs during the session, to be able appraise themselves and move on.

Also speaking, Muhammed Lamin Jaiteh, permanent secretary at the Ministry, explained that JAR doesn’t only afford the ministry to take stock of tits activities and programmes, but also serves as a period during which the Ministry interacts with its vast stakeholders.

Also speaking, Dr. Desta Tiruneh, World Health Organisation representative congratulated the Ministry especially the Department of Planning and information for making JAR possible.

The event, he added, would enable them evaluate the progress the health has made in the past years, following the completion of the National Health Strategic Plan.

Dr. Tiruneh noted that The Gambia like most of the countries in the world had gone through a challenging period in the past years. However, he noted that collectively, the country was able to mitigate the devastating impact of covid-19 and on the economy.

While paying glowing tribute to all that lost their lives due to COVID -19, the WHO rep also saluted the heroes such as volunteers, medical personnel that continue to battle the impact of the deadly disease.  

In his keynote address, Dr Ahmad Lamin Samateh, Minister of Health, said the JAR is a key component of reform agenda of the Ministry and that fortunately, in The Gambia the event has been staged since 2017 to serve as means of improving coordination for enhanced performance.

Minister Samateh noted that over the years the event had evolved to become a tool for mutual accountability and transparency for government and development partners, adding that the objective of the event is to assess the performance, improve implementation as well as to identify bottlenecks.

He spoke at length on the successes registered by the ministry as well as challenges, calling on participants to be ready to share loopholes and existing gaps for redress.

Dr. Samateh underscored the importance of health financing in achieving meaningful results, adding that despite the successes registered thus far, there still exists challenges.

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