Alagi Yorro Jallow

Fatoumatta: Ethics and moral aside, If I am ever in public office and I get sick, don’t take me abroad for treatment. Let me die here, in the Gambia, in facilities I neglected or fixed.

Crass manipulation, a senior government official (name withheld) is recovering in Israel. Business magnate (name withheld) just returned from treatment in New York. I wish them both a quick recovery. A former senior government official died in a London hospital. Another former diplomat died in a Paris hospital. Two former ministers of Health both went for cancer treatment in the USA and now their political lives were extended while those who voted them in die every day of Cancer in the Gambia.

Fatoumatta: According to impeccable sources and leaks from the Health Ministry at least hundreds of Gambians travel abroad for yearly birth and medical tourism and seeking for cancer treatment which costs over thousands of dollars. Some government officials, cabinet ministers and National Assembly members are among those being treated in America, Canada, Senegal, South Africa, India and Thailand and back home, the leaders didn’t factor in funds to support cancer patients in the budget!

Most Gambians cannot travel outside the country for birth and medical tourism, and treatment like cabinet ministers, senior government officials and National Assembly members who have strong medical cover or financial means to pay their own medical bills.

Fatoumatta: I hope the legislators will now vigorously lobby the National Assembly to give cancer disease the attention it deserves and allocate sufficient funds for equipment and treatment and discourage birth and medical tourism.

Fatoumatta: Moral aside, birth and medical tourism by the powerful, the wealthy and the corrupt politicians abuse and neglect our health care system commit crass manipulation of the American generosity, abusing of the taxpayers with cost. Several politicians have seen birth tourism as their passport to wealth and a “guaranteed future” for their children.

Fatoumatta: Listen to Binta.”I wanted to give my child an American passport,” said Binta (a senior government  official’s wife), whose surname is being withheld to protect her child. “We believe when we come down there to have our babies, they are sure of a better future.” Binta added: “My dream is finally reality: I have a son, one with a “guaranteed” future”.

There are no laws prohibiting foreigners from traveling to the United States to give birth; the children born here are automatically American citizens, according to the Constitution. However, in the attempt to gain citizenship for their children through birth, many commit immigration fraud, exploit the health care system and in some cases place the lives of the babies in jeopardy.

Fatoumatta: It’s a shame really on the other hand America, Canada, Senegal, South Africa, Israel, India and Thailand receives more than millions of dollars from birth and medical tourism by Gambians a lot of money that could have been used to upgrade medical facilities here double big shame.