First Lady Zineb Jammeh with kids at an independence show for children in Kanifing

First Lady’s office said $60,000 spent on overseas surgery for seven kids

At least six underprivileged children have returned home to The Gambia after successful heart surgeries in Israel, the office of the First Lady said. They were funded through the Operation Save the Children Foundation.

The director of the foundation at the First Lady’s office, Fatou Mass Jobe said at least $60,000 has been spent covering travel, treatment, lodging, feeding and cost of escorting nurses. Ms Jobe did not say if they funds were a personal donation from First Lady Zineb Jammeh or from a budget allocated to the foundation.

The seventh beneficiary of the surgery is expected to return to Banjul as well.

According to the foundation’s documents, they seek to compliment the government’s efforts in child protection, healthcare and education for children with special needs.

Mohammed Silimeh is two years old and had congenital heart disease – a problem with the heart’s structure and function that is present at birth. The birth defect causes more deaths in the first year of life than any other birth defects. He was among the seven children sponsored during the trip and the sixth to return after a successful surgery at the Save a Child Hospital in Israel.

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