Edward Francis Small Teaching Hospital (The Royal Victoria Hospital)

Referral/Teaching Hospital | Banjul, Gambia, The

Hospital description

The Edward Francis Small Teaching Hospital (EFSTH) is located in Banjul, the capital of The Gambia. It was formerly known as The Royal Victoria Teaching Hospital (RVTH), but changed its name in 2013. The Gambia is a small country in West Africa, with a population of approximately 1.5m.

It has a history of being peaceful and it came third in a recent World Bank assessment of financial probity/honesty in all Africa. However, it has very few natural resources and most of its foreign earnings have to come from groundnuts and tourism – both somewhat unpredictable and neither very big.

EFSTH has only recently become a Teaching Hospital, so it has just begun to train its own medical students. It has 540 beds in the hospital, and also provides Primary Healthcare for Central Banjul through its Polyclinic. EFSTH is funded primarily by the Gambian Government, but is semi-autonomous, with its own Board, chaired by Dr E.M. Samba, and its own management team. EFSTH is working hard to cement its autonomous status.

Wages at the hospital are quite low when compared with those in wealthier countries and the range of facilities is somewhat limited, however, that is partly due to the large financial restraints that are in place; a similar operation in a developed country would have a budget of approximately 150 times more than that available to EFSTH.

The result of having so little money is that the hospital is almost always short of the doctors, nurses, equipment and appropriate drugs. EFSTH also works very closely with the Medical Research Council (MRC), which has a major base in The Gambia. In collaboration with MRC, it has a number of special projects, including studies into Malaria and Hepatitis.

EFSTH receives support from various UN agencies such as WHO and Unicef, from a number of NGOs and from various countries including the UK, the EU, Taiwan and Cuba.


Hospital type Referral/Teaching Hospital
Local language English with around 9 other ethnic languages
Funding Status Public


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