Cyfeillion Sankwia Friends - supporting sustainable development in Gambia

The Clinic

The Clinic

The Clinic services not only SANKWIA, but the whole of the Lower River Region

Conditions in the clinic were very basic, no running water, no constant or reliable electric supply, rusty iron beds, old torn mattresses, dirty & broken mosquito nets held up by string, no sanitation, basic and outdated equipment and limited basic medication.

…but truly dedicated staff doing the best they can.

Solar Panels

Solar Panels

Before the involvement of the charity, the clinic at Soma did not have either a reliable or constant electricity supply. Pregnant women who went into labour late in the evening or during the early hours would have been treated in darkness, or sometimes by candlelight if any were available.

In 2009 the charity provided solar panels which were fitted to the roof of the maternity ward. There is now an adequate lighting system.

In 2012 with the aid of the Welsh Assembly Government a state of the art solar system was installed at the clinic. As a result the whole clinic now has 24 hour electric power. The system also powers an oxygen supply, which hitherto had not been available.

The village suffers from a high infant mortality rate. As a charity we are committed to reducing these levels. With this in mind we have employed a “paramedic” who has received some basic training. We also hope to provide some much needed equipment for the Clinic. The provision of such equipment and its transportation to the Gambia, is one of our current priorities.

We are currently investigating the possibility of providing the clinic with medication for the maternity unit. This will be done in co-operation with a charity based in Cardiff ” Life for African mothers” ( This scheme ,if adopted, will provide drugs for the tratment of eclampsia and post partum haemorrhage.

In January 2010 the clinic benefitted from the digging of a borehole which ensures a constant, supply of clean water read more…

Kathleen Shepherd Cataract Fund

A Blind Man’s Song

The Poem on the Wall

A poem was posted on the wall outside a ward at the clinic. Representatives of the charity were invited in by the ophthalmic nurse to see the patients.

On entering a lady was seen sat on the edge of her mattress with a huge smile on her face – when asked if she could see she responded with an even bigger smile and said YES.

She had been virtually blind for 2 years.  She had, had the benefit of a simple cataract removal operation.



Since I have been blind, I feel bad.

It has been dark all round me,

I can’t see you.

I can’t even see my child, or my wife,

husband or love ones

I’m always lonely, no one to see.

I can’t farm to keep my  self alive

nor can I fetch water to bath.

Oh dear for how long will I remain blind

Cataract Operation paid for by Cyfeillion Sankwia Friends

The cost of a cataract removal procedure at the clinic is less than £12, a sum which only a few, better off villagers, can afford

Many of the villagers suffer from eye problems, and the some of older inhabitants have  restricted eyesight as a result of cataracts. In response to this problem the charity, in January 2010,  set up a specific fund. This fund is used to pay for cataract removal and the required aftercare and medication. Since that date over 350 residents of the Lower River Region  have had their eyesight restored to an acceptable level.

Emergency Medical Fund

Sankwians who need more complicated operations or treatment have to make an 8 hour journey to the main hospital in Banjul. The cost of travel is high as is the cost of treatment, medication and aftercare. As a result many cannot afford to pay and do not therefore receive the required treatment.

In January 2010, charity representatives were horrified to see a 15 year old boy with a fractured ankle, which he had sustained about 3 months previously. The fracture was so severe that the broken bone was protruding through the skin. The wound had not healed and was becoming putrid. One of the representatives provided funding for both travel and treatment costs. As a result Abdoulie was operated on and he has made a near total recovery. Without this treatment there is no doubt that  his foot would have  been amputated.  The Cost £9.

As a result of this experience an Emergency Medical Fund had been established. This fund ensures that any villager, who cannot reasonably fund the travel and treatment costs, now receives the required treatment.

In 2011 on attending the clinic, representatives of the charity became aware of the lack of maintenance relating to the clinic building and non medical equipment. Included were sinks that did not work. As until 2010 9Until the charity paid for a bore hole to be dug) there had been no running water at the clinic such items had been left without use. It became apparent that the level of maintenance  at the clinic was nearly non existent. According to the head of the clinic they would have the use of a maintenance worker for about a week every three months. It was decided therefore to fund the employment of a maintenance worker, who is employed full time at the Soma Health Clinic. In addition a further fund has been provided so that items that cannot be repaired can be replaced. The charity believes that this investment will greatly improve the standards at the Clinic.

Contact Us

Cyfeillion Sankwia Friends
Llawr Y Llan, Lon Goch
Amlwch, Ynys Mon LL68 9EN
Tel: 01407 830974