First COVID-19 Death Recorded in The Gambia

23 March 2020

We have tested a second positive sample of COVID-19 at our specialist secure laboratories in Fajara. This test forms part of the Unit’s ongoing support to the Ministry of Health during the coronavirus outbreak.

The Unit is supporting the Ministry of Health to rapidly identify any contacts the patient had. Those identified as close contacts will be given health advice and tested in line with Ministry of Health procedures.

Reports from the Ministry state that the patient arrived in The Gambia from Senegal on 13th March 2020. The patient, who had underlying health conditions, presented at the Bundung Maternal and Child Health Hospital (BMCHH), and was later referred to the Edward Francis Small Teaching Hospital (EFSTH) on 20th March 2020.

It is reported that the patient sadly died in an ambulance before arrival at EFSTH. Our deepest sympathies are with the patient’s family and friends.

We are aware that three of our staff at the BMCHH have come into contact with the patient, and are now self-isolating.

The health and wellbeing of our staff is paramount.

The Unit received the patient’s samples on the evening of 21st March 2020 and tested them on 22nd March 2020. The results were communicated to the Ministry of Health later that day.

We encourage all persons in The Gambia to follow World Health Organization guidance on coronavirus control, including washing your hands regularly with soap and water, and blowing your nose/sneeze into a tissue.