July 22, 2015 By Ibrahim Jaffa Condeh
The European Union (EU), in partnership with the Emergency Surgical and Paediatric Center (commonly known as Emergency Hospital) at Goderich, has announced a support package of Le412m to strengthen the health sector in the Western Area Rural District.
The support will go towards improving health and education service delivery to vulnerable children in the Western Area Rural District, and also to strengthen partnerships between local authorities, civil society and government institutions.
The objective of the project, according to the EU office in Freetown, is to contribute towards poverty reduction, improve the human development status of targeted households through improved awareness of health risks, and better access to medical and education services and trained health personnel.
During a presentation ceremony held at the Emergency Surgical Center, Goderich, yesterday, the head of the European Union delegation in Sierra Leone, Mr. Peter Versteeg, described the project as an innovation for school-going children within the Western Rural District, noting that the scheme has a lifespan of three years.
He said funding partners had contributed EUR750,000 (seven hundred and fifty thousand euros) to boost the project in order to ensure that children have access to quality health and education services.
Ambassador Versteeg commended the Emergency Surgical Centre for their service to the Sierra Leonean populace, especially for “giving life and hope to citizens as well as non-citizens over the past years”, noting that the Ebola viral disease had been a threat to hundreds of thousands of people in the country but that with the joint support of the EU and the hospital, the disease would soon be eradicated.
“A strong network between local authorities, government institutions and civil society organizations will promote children’s health and education to support the implementation of the country’s national health care programmes,” said Mr. Versteeg. “This project will assist in informing families of the child’s right to access free health care, which will minimise the risk of hospitalised sick children dropping out of school.”
The EU head of delegation further reckoned that the Emergency Surgical Center has demonstrated good leadership for providing free of cost medical treatment to the people even at the height of the Ebola viral disease outbreak when many medical facilities could not dare attend to even non-Ebola patients.
In his remarks, Program Coordinator at the Emergency Surgical Centre, Luca Rolla, stressed the need to develop a strong network between local authorities, government institutions and civil society organisations to help promote children’s health and education in the country.
He thanked the EU for what he referred to as their invaluable contribution to strengthening the country’s health sector.