*Kendeyaa means «health», «to be healthy» in Mandinka, the predominant national language in our area of operation.
Since 2008, 11 homeopaths and 3 assistants have graduated in the Kendeyaa project, 13 more are currently in training.
Currently, «Mobile Clinics» are conducted 3-4 times per week (approx. 150 patients per week), the outpatient clinic is open daily (approx. 80 patients per week).
In 2018, a total of 9,700 patients were treated.
Gambia, with a total area of approximately 11’000 square kilometres, is the smallest country on the African mainland.
By comparison, Switzerland is four times as big.
The birth rate in Gambia is 29.4 per 1,000 inhabitants (Switzerland 10.5/1,000).
The infant mortality rate is 60.2 per 1,000 births (Switzerland 3.6/1,000).
The maternal mortality rate is 706 per 1,000 births (Switzerland 5/1,000).
Physician density in Gambia 0.11 per 1,000 inhabitants. (Switzerland 4.25/1,000).
Why homeopathy in Africa?
The West African country the Gambia is the smallest state on the African continent and one of the poorest countries in the world. Health care in the Gambia is very poor. Hospitals and health centers lack both human and material resources. Alternatives are needed. The advantages of homeopathic treatment are on the one hand the positive reactions of the patients and the high acceptance of the locals, on the other hand the low costs, the absence of side effects and the uncomplicated storage of medicines. Homeopathy seems to be closer to the method of traditional healers than conventional medicine.
What are we doing in the Gambia?
Since 2008, a team of homeopaths has been working on building, developing and maintaining a homeopathic school. The offer is aimed at school leavers and professionals who are mainly taught homeopathy. Every year two to four trained homeopaths from Switzerland are on site for up to 20 weeks to teach and treat for the project. During our absence, homeopathy classes are accompanied by Gambian homoeopaths who are already trained. Momodou Colley, a young Gambian doctor, also trains the students in anatomy, physiology, pathology and traditional herbal medicine.
Another focus of our project is practical work. We run an outpatient clinic (daily consultation hours) and so-called mobile clinics, where we visit various villages and quarters on request and treat people on an outpatient basis.
The film about the project
Current situation 2020 – Update July
In the first half of April, the Gambia declared a lockdown, which will continue «until further notice». This means that, among other things, the markets have been closed, thus eliminating the main source of income for the majority of the population. In Gambia, hardly any people are dying as a result of Covid-19, but a steadily increasing number are dying of hunger. So far we have sent money four times to buy about five tons of rice, oil, sugar and peanut butter each, which were then distributed by Isha Fofana from our partner organization in Gambia, Mama Africa, to the most needy in the region. hmswiss and the Gambia Friends (partner organization Switzerland) each took over half of the 16,000 Swiss francs needed for this purpose.
Our project activities ran in an orderly fashion until the declaration of the pandemic in 2020. That is to say: The teaching of the 13 homeopathy students was regular and well coordinated. The Mobile Clinic team supplied three to four locations each week and the “drop in” patients were cared for in our day clinic (outpatient clinic). Already in March the school was closed for the first time due to the first confirmed Covid-19 cases in the neighbouring country Senegal. After reopening at short notice, the nationwide lockdown took place at the beginning of April and has continued until today.
We support our students via Whatapp. Tasks are sent out on a weekly basis, which the students have to complete in a week’s time and which we correct and comment on at the weekend. The practical work had to be temporarily suspended. The graduate homeopaths work from home with family and friends.
Many thanks to all our Kendeyaa team members, who make a significant contribution to the success of our project. Without the continuous basic work in Switzerland, our project would not be so successful. THANK YOU VERY MUCH – ABARAKA BAKE!
A look back
The students of the current course have now reached the half-way point of their education. The young Gambian women and men have become a sworn team.
The practical work with patients began in March as part of the weekly Mobile Clinics. The first joint «expedition» took us inland. We drove for an hour and a half in scorching heat until we were able to look after the people waiting under huge mango trees. For a good six hours we worked non-stop. Despite the great heat and the persistent wind, which drove sand into our eyes, the commitment of the students was impressive – the spark jumped! This was shown by the fact that one student organized uniforms for the whole group on her own initiative.
The physician and herbalist Momodou Colley, our long-time teacher, is very committed and loved by everyone. The young Gambian homoeopath Isha Darboe, who accompanied the homoeopathy classes during our absence in the first year of school, has now been replaced by the experienced Indian homoeopath Vacha Pathak.
The demand for our «mobile services» continues to exist. Whether in remote, rural or urban areas, our team treats patients on site on a weekly basis. The organization and archiving of thousands of medical records is becoming an ever-increasing challenge. The clarification of a simple and secure software is in progress. If someone would like to participate financially or technically in the solution of this task, please contact us.
Our partner in Gambia, Isha Fofana, director of the «Art Center Mama Africa» (www.mama-africa-gambia.org) was visiting Switzerland. This enabled us to have in-depth discussions – among others together with our Swiss partner organisation «Gambia Friends». The long-term success of our project is decisively influenced by this valuable cooperation. Bernd Ax (also «Mama Africa»), a partner in Gambia until the end of 2018, has returned to Germany. We thank him warmly for his valuable cooperation.
Another four-week hmswiss mission to the Gambia took place in mid-October. It was an active and interesting time for Annette Sartori (new team member) and Gabrielle Barben (team leader). Annette was welcomed warmly as a new Kendeyaa team member by all participants.
We worked parctically with the patients during the Mobile Clinics in Bakau and Brikama. Many of our students as well as their relatives, acquaintances, neighbours, etc., also came for treatment. Convinced of their education, the students always brought new patients to our outpatient clinic in Tanji.
In August 2013 the Art-Center of our local partner organisation Mama Africa was destroyed by the then government (see under 2013). At the beginning of November 2018 the brand new Mama Africa-Art Center & Gallery was opened with a big celebration. Imams, ministers, artists, friends, relatives, neighbours, project collaborators and many other interested people came to see what Isha and Bernd have created.
Six students complete their training with flying colours in May. The requirements of the examinations correspond to those of a European course. The graduation ceremony is accompanied by the media, an imam, the village elder and a large audience and is an unforgettable experience. Four of the graduates will be integrated into the project. They will conduct mobile clinics four times a week in four different villages for a reasonable wage. With our support, the other two students will set up their own practice, one of which already has a good clientele. He is captain of the army and treats the soldiers there.
In the future, the Gambiafriends will provide us with a house in which we can rent a classroom, a library and a bedroom. The outpatient clinic is on the same site. The house is directly next to the new property of «Mama Africa», which is already well advanced in its new construction and is expected to open at the end of 2017.
Our daily treatment offer in the outpatient clinic is professionally and routinely managed by our two qualified homeopaths.
The mobile clinics are very popular. There are always requests from village committees who would like to use our mobile services for their residents. We are currently able to provide logistical and personnel support for two Mobile Clinics per week.
Isha Fofana and Bernd Ax are currently working intensively on the reconstruction of the “Mama Africa” cultural centre. They are always at our side with advice and action and are responsible for the operational management of the project in Gambia. The cooperation with the Gambiafriends is still central and cooperative.
Three women and four men between the ages of 20 and 60 are still with us – they form a good team and apply their constantly growing knowledge twice a week in the Mobile Clinics under the supervision of our graduate Gambian homeopaths.
Isha Fofana and Bernd Ax, our local partners, are setting up a new cultural centre in Tanji and installing the new homeopathic outpatient clinic there.
Despite a politically difficult time at the end of last year, our Gambia project is developing splendidly and a two-digit number of students have entered the new training cycle. Weekly contacts with Gabrielle Barben or Beatrice Tillmann for task distribution, feedback and practical questions guarantee the quality of the homeopathic education.
We are very lucky to have Momodou Colley as a new teacher in the subjects anatomy and physiology, pathology as well as “traditional herbal medicine” in our team. He is a very reliable, top-educated young Gambian doctor who studied medicine in Moscow for seven years and returned to his home country.
Since the beginning of the year, our newly graduated homeopaths have been working in the outpatient clinic daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. in order to carry out anamnesis and follow-up consultations as well as to treat wounds professionally and receive an appropriate salary for this. They also conduct weekly mobile clinics in a steadily growing area along the Atlantic coast.
Turbulent times are causing the usual pace of training and treatment activities to waver in the short term: at the end of August, the entire area where the project was able to develop is expropriated by the government and razed to the ground with bulldozers. Supporting our local partners has top priority. In addition, a provisional facility must be rented in the neighbouring village of Batokunku in order to be able to continue teaching and the outpatient clinic. However, the graduation ceremony of the three young homeopaths, which was accompanied by media effort, shows that homeopathy is still gaining ground in Gambia. Two women and one man will complete their three-year training at the end of 2013 despite all the adversity.
In Gambia, homeopathy is gradually gaining ground. HMSuisse is responsible for training medical professionals and laypersons as well as for treatment, while our partner organisation “Gambian and Swiss Friends” is responsible for infrastructure.
Currently, outpatient consultations are limited to one day a week, Friday, on which around 100 patients have to be treated. The trend is rising, so that a full week’s offer and a better infrastructure are needed. Die HMSuisse ist für die Ausbildung von Ärzten und Laien sowie für die Behandlung zuständig, während unsere Partnerorganisation “Gambian and Swiss Friends” für die Infrastruktur zuständig ist.
Derzeit sind die ambulanten Konsultationen auf einen Tag pro Woche, Freitag, beschränkt, an dem rund 100 Patienten behandelt werden müssen. Der Trend steigt, so dass ein volles Wochenangebot und eine bessere Infrastruktur benötigt werden.
In August we founded the Homeopathic Art School together with our partner organisations “Gambian and Swiss Friends” and “Mama Africa”. It comprises a holistic full-time education with a focus on homeopathy and gives the project a new structure, with HMSuisse being responsible for homeopathy.
Seven students start the new course in November. In the same month, the first two native homeopaths trained in Gambia graduate.
The Gambia project continues to develop positively. This year four missions of Swiss homeopaths will take place. All students take a very good intermediate examination and in December a new group of interested people starts with a preparation course.
We start the cooperation with “Mama Africa, Women’s Museum & Art Center”, a Gambian project led by the local Isha Fofana and her German husband Bernd Ax. Their advice and assistance is very important for a successful, sustainable project. It is this intensive cooperation that enables us to expand into a year-round commitment.
Our new students live and work in the cultural centre. We teach there and have set up a small pharmacy and library.
The main goal is to train the local people. Meanwhile there is a group of four students who are intensively dedicated to the distance learning of homeopathy. They are accompanied by the new training director, Gabrielle Barben. There will also be a connection with a traditional healer who works with us in the field of phytotherapy.
There are contacts with the Ministry of Health. The partner organisation “Gambian and Swiss-Friends” has provided us with a safe car with which we can start the Mobile Clinic and drive regularly to remote villages to treat the people on site.
In Gambia, homeopathy is not yet known, there are neither trained homeopaths nor homeopathic projects. Madeleine Lehmann, who lives in Gambia for private reasons, finds that people cannot afford conventional medical treatment and that homeopathy could offer great help. It initiates the first steps. Interested people who want to learn homeopathy and apply it themselves begin the training.
A concept is developed which makes it possible to treat as many people as possible in the time available. With a mobile consultation the homoeopathy is to be brought to the people in the villages.