Facts and figures
Located on the West African coast the Republic of the Gambia stretches 350km inland occupying 10,690sqkm with a population of 1.8 million. It borders Senegal to the north, east and south.
Average life expectancy is around 60 and 12% of children die before they reach their 5th birthday.
More than 300 women die in childbirth each year in The Gambia. These are preventable deaths. Pregnancy and childbirth should be happy events-we can achieve this through sustainable healthcare.
Major constraints to healthcare in the Gambia are: shortage of qualified personnel, limited health facilities and limited referral hospitals. Patients requiring specialist care either do not receive it or travel abroad at significant cost.
Horizons business and charitable activities will be complementary to the national healthcare provision giving providers in the Gambia the option to refer patients needing specialist care to a local, high quality hospital.
The Gambia government, midwives, and other agencies, as well as the communities, are struggling to achieve the Millennium goal of reducing maternal deaths by a half. It is a complex problem. One strategy considered to be most effective is the provision in the community of sufficient well-trained and competent personnel with midwifery skills.
Horizons is developing partnerships to strengthen midwifery services in outreach centres. This is essential to promoting safe motherhood. In particular Horizons organises training to raise standards in maternity cleanliness. Uncontrolled infection reaps a heavy burden in most maternity clinics in The Gambia.
Over four thousand children under the age of five die each year in The Gambia. More than half of these child deaths are due to conditions that could be prevented or treated with access to simple interventions.
The 48 hours immediately following birth is the most crucial period for newborn survival. Children in sub-Saharan Africa are 15 times more likely to die before the age of five than children in Europe.
A child's risk of dying is highest in the neonatal period, the first 28 days of life. Safe childbirth and effective neonatal care are essential to prevent these deaths. 44% of child deaths under the age of five take place during this neonatal period. Within the first month, up to one half of all deaths occur within the first 24 hours of life, and 75% in the first week.
A pilot initiative will be set up with a number of outreach clinics to create a model for raising the standard of outreach maternity and infant care and developing an effective triage system which identifies those who need to be referred to the Horizons Clinic.