December 19, 2016 By Hassan Gbassay Koroma
In response to the maternal and child healthcare problems in Sierra Leone, the Chinese Ambassador to Sierra Leone on Friday (December 16) launched the Maternal and Children Healthcare Project.
During the ceremony at the Bintumani Hotel, Ambassador Wu Peng recalled a couple of weeks ago when he and the Minister of Health and Sanitation, Dr. Abu Bakarr Fofanah, unveiled the ‘Brightness Journey’ Cataract project at the Jui Hospital.
He described the project as a big success as doctors from the Hunan Province in China have succeeded in screening over one thousand five hundred people in Sierra Leone.
He disclosed that another group of doctors from Hunan Province were in town to deliver pediatric services to Sierra Leonean children.
“As you may know, just few days ago, President Ernest Bai Koroma had a fruitful state visit to China. He and President Xi Jinping have decided to upgrade our bilateral relationship into a comprehensive strategic partnership of cooperation,” he said.
He stated that during the visit, the Health Minister signed an agreement for the Hospital partnership assistance which clearly demonstrated that China and Sierra Leone would scale up cooperation in the health sector.
According to him, the Maternal and Children Healthcare Project of China was just one of the important steps of the implementation effort and assured that more would be done in the coming years, especially with regards the West Africa Tropical Disease Research and Treatment Centre.
Minister of Health and Sanitation, Dr. Abu Bakarr Fofanah, applauded the support of the Chinese government, describing the project as a life-saving initiative.
He said both countries have long standing relationship, characterised by trust and respect for the values and cultures of both countries.
“Looking around you can see the work of the Chinese People everywhere in the country, including our National Stadium, Youyi Building that housed many of the government ministries,” he said.
He said even though Sierra Leone did not have much to give to China but has stand firm in defending the interest of China in the international community, citing an advocacy for China to secure a seat in the United Nations Security Council.
He noted that the Chinese President was one of the first world leaders that responded to the call of President Koroma during the Ebola crisis by making the quickest aid delivery to the country.
“The Chinese government also provided financial as well as technical supports to Sierra Leone, including the mobile laboratory, the construction of a permanent laboratory that is well equipped with modern equipment,” he said.
According to him, when President Koroma addressed the nation in September 2015, he declared maternal and child mortality emergency to create the urgency among the stakeholders in the health sector to take concrete steps in addressing the issue of maternal and child deaths.
“The launching of the project will be a major step in addressing the issues of maternal and child deaths,” he said.
Giving the background of the project, President of Human Children’s Hospital in China, Xu Yao said President Xi Jinping promised during the series Summit of the United Nations to support Maternal and Children Healthcare Projects in developing countries, as well as the construction of 100 hospitals and clinics in the next five years.
She said the team of Chinese doctors in the country would be carrying out appropriate technical training for Malaria, Tuberculosis, Typhoid Fever, Lassa Fever, HIV, and other infectious diseases.