Hangah, Kenema District, Eastern Province, Saturday 26 January, 2019 – His Excellency President Julius Maada Bio has completed an inspection tour of the ongoing construction site of an emergency paediatric and maternal hospital in Hangah Town, Kenema District, eastern Sierra Leone.
The project, which would include 160 beds, is supported by the medical support group, Médecins Sans Frontières, MSF. As part of the project, MSF had sent 50 Sierra Leoneans to Ghana to train in paediatric care and who would work at the hospital after it would have started full operations.
It is also hoped that the hospital would also reduce maternal and child mortality in the country. It would also have a room for paediatric treatment and would provide a facility for intensive care for cases that would need close monitoring.
In his welcome address Chief Medical Officer, Dr Amara Jambai, said the healthcare facility was in line with President Bio’s vision of developing the country’s human capital by building and improving on healthcare delivery across the country. He said the project had had a rocky start but was happy it was yielding fruit at last. He, therefore, thanked MSF for their support to the country’s healthcare system.
“This initiative is in line with the President’s vision for human capital development and improved healthcare delivery, especially for women and children who are in dire need of these services. For that, we thank MSF very well,” he said.
Head of MSF Mission in Sierra Leone, David Croft, said it was an honour to host the President on an inspection visit to the construction site, adding that although work was still in progress, it was close to completion stage. He said MSF had been in Sierra Leone for a very long time and had done a lot in terms of supporting the country’s health sector.
Minister of Health and Sanitation, Dr Alpha Wurie, said the facility presented the tremendous amount of work already done by MSF in the country’s health sector, adding that the project was special because it was geared towards addressing the mortality rate in the country. He also observed that the hospital had the facility of developing weights of babies, which he said was in line with government agenda.
He noted that apart from being a tuition centre for medical personnel in Kenema, the hospital would also serve the entire country and, in particular, would interact with the primary health units. He, therefore, commended MSF for their efforts and expressed optimism that the new year would be promising for the country’s health sector.
On his part, President Bio said that he was excited about the ongoing work, which would provide quality healthcare services to Sierra Leoneans. He stated that his government was committed to reducing maternal mortality and teenage pregnancy in the country.
He commended MSF for their bravery in undertaking such a huge work but said he was not surprised because of the past work of MSF in the country. He recalled the work of the international French medical charity during the Ebola epidemic and thanked them on behalf of the people of Sierra Leone.
“We recognise and acknowledge the great work you are doing in our country. I am happy to be here and to pledge my fullest support to you. We will provide you with the necessary support you need to complete this project,” he assured.
MSF started operations in Sierra Leone in 1986. Shortly after the civil war, they were in the country to deliver basic healthcare and vaccination to people affected by the war. Again, during the Ebola epidemic they were actively involved in the setting up of treatment centres.
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