Gambia’s Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare, Dr Cherno Omar Barry, has rubbished rumours that his ministry has refused an offer from the World Health Organisation (WHO) to purchase drugs for the country.

In recent weeks, some Gambians have been spreading gossip on social media that the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare has decided against the WHO buying drugs for the country out of fear that staff would lose out from getting any financial kickbacks.

But Dr Barry said the WHO does not procure drugs for the ministry and has never offered to do so, and the rumours are aimed solely and regrettably to tarnish the excellent character of the staff that are working tirelessly to see that the health sector regains its glory amid huge and difficult challenges.

He added: “It should be clear that the WHO does not procure drugs for the ministry and has never offered to do so. The organisation has relentlessly served and continues to serve the ministry in providing both technical and financial expertise and interventions to ensure the government meets its health vision and mission.”

Dr Barry took the opportunity to commend the various agencies and organisations that are supporting his ministry and providing support in the purchase of medical supplies.

“Each partners’ support cannot be measured as their interventions are actually what has placed the Gambia in an enviable place of pride especially in the fight against malaria, containing TB infections and its immunisation coverage,” he said.

“We also thanks the World Bank for providing funds through UNICEF to help complement the purchase of drugs and medical supplies for the country this year.

“The ministry has qualified and competent staff who are full of integrity to deal with the procurement of drugs and medical supplies from local funds.”