By State House Communication Unit
FREETOWN, Sierra Leone, 25 September, 2017 President Dr Ernest Bai Koroma this afternoon visited the Chinese Ark Peace Hospital ship which docked in Freetown on 19 September, 2017 for a weeklong humanitarian medical services for local people in Sierra Leone.
Upon arrival at the Queen Elizabeth 11 quay, the president was taken on a conducted tour of the massive ship which is undertaking the sixth Harmonious Mission around the world. The Ark Peace set sail from Zhoushan in 2010, 2011, 2013, 2014 and 2015 respectively to perform the mission.
In a meeting with the Chinese medical team, President Koroma extolled the excellent relationship between Sierra Leone and China, saying that the visit of the Chinese medical team is a way of deepening the bilateral ties between the two countries. He described China as a dependable friend to Sierra Leone, noting that China was the first country to provide immediate support to Sierra Leone during the Ebola outbreak as well as the mudslide and flooding disaster. The immediate response of China during the country’s catastrophic incidents inspired the intervention of the international community, he said.
The Head of State specially noted the promise made by the Chinese Ambassador to further strengthen Sierra Leone’s health sector and heartily thanked his Chinese counterpart President Xi Jinping and the medical team for their seven days of hard work to provide free medical services to over seven thousand Sierra Leoneans.
The Deputy Chief of Staff of the Donghai Fleet Rear Admiral Guan Bailin, who is commanding officer of the mission said their mission to offer free medical services to the people of Sierra Leone was successfully done due to the leadership provided by His Excellency President Dr Ernest Bai Koroma. He said he has no doubt that President Koroma is profoundly loved by his people and that his strong leadership has evidently transformed Sierra Leone.
Buttressing the task group commander, the Chinese Ambassador to Sierra Leone Wu Peng assured of continued medical support to Sierra Leone.
The ship is equipped with a ship-based medical helicopter from an aviation regiment of the Beihai Fleet under the PLA Navy, and the medical crew comprises more than 110 medical staff from 21 institutions including the Naval Medical University and the Navy General Hospital, said Guan Bailin.
Chinese doctors working in Sierra Leone hospitals as well as Sierra Leoneans doctors have been working together with the crew onboard the ship to treat patients and do follow up after the ship’s departure.