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28 October 2014
Inside Out: Surprising Stories, Familiar Places

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   Coming Up : Inside Out - East: Friday January 12, 2007
"You can make a small difference." Anita Smith
Your generosity is helping patients at Bansang


In 2006 presenter David Whiteley and the Inside Out East team went to The Gambia in West Africa.

We told the story of Anita Smith from Kettering, who has devoted her life to running a charity for a hospital in the remote inland town of Bansang.

There was a huge response to the programme from viewers – more than £50,000 was donated as well as sponsorship.

Inside Out decided that we should return to Bansang to show what a difference has been made.

Making an impact

The first impressions were such a contrast to the previous year when work had begun on a new children’s unit - now it is completed.

Gambia fact file

The Gambia is situated on the West African coast. One and a half million people live there. They rely on three government run hospitals for health care.

Life expectancy is 54 years (men) and 57 years (women).

Bansang Hospital is situated in the African bush, 200 miles from the coast. It is a small 160 bed facility built by the British in 1938.

The hospital provides for the health needs of 600,000 Gambians. Extra pressure comes with the arrival of patients from Senegal, Mali, Guinea and refugees from Sierra Leone.

Successive Governments have tried to offer the health service as much resources as possible. But the economy just does not generate enough money to satisfy demands.

Source: Bansang Hospital Appeal and UN.

There are separate wards for surgical cases and children with infectious diseases, and there is also an isolation ward.

A playroom, sponsored by a couple from Northamptonshire, is stocked with toys from England and staffed by play nurses.

Their job is to use play therapy to help young children recover – toys and music can stimulate patients even if they are very sick with diseases such as malaria.

One of the biggest challenges for any hospital in the developing world is to prevent trained staff leaving - to work for health services in developed countries, including Britain.

The hospital has its own school for State Enrolled Nurses.

Many of the students are sponsored by Inside Out viewers and are committed to staying in The Gambia.

Helping to persuade them to stay are the new accommodation blocks, also paid for by viewers.

For the first time, the nurses have their own bedroom, sitting room and bathroom.

People power

David Whiteley
David Whiteley in Africa - looking at the positive lessons

We also caught up with some of the people we’d met last time.

Inside Out follows the progress of Alhagie Bah who had been fitted with a prosthetic limb after having his leg amputated.

Find out what happened to Alhagie in our special online film.

Bansang Appeal

If you would like to make a donation or provide support, you can contact the appeal at:

To contact Anita Smith at the Bansang Hospital Appeal, send a letter to:

Anita Smith, Bansang Hospital Appeal, 4 The Leys, Orlingbury,
Kettering, Northants, NN14 1JE.

Alternatively visit the website below.

Links relating to this story:

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