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Joint United Nations–34 Military Hospital COVID-19 Treatment Centre Commissioned

June 3, 2020

 The United Nations in Sierra Leone has successfully constructed and handed over a specialized COVID 19 treatment centre at the 34 Military Hospital to the Government of Sierra Leone as part of the UN support to the national COVID-19 efforts.            `

The 13-bed treatment centre which was commissioned on 28 May 2020 by the United Nations and the Government of Sierra Leone represents shared efforts between the UN family in Sierra Leone, national authorities and the 34 Military Hospital.

UNFPA provided the overall coordination, technical leadership and funding for the construction of the specialized treatment centre, with the construction alone costing approximately $ 120,000.  UNDP led the way in developing a Memorandum of Understanding with the 34 Military Hospital; WFP provided technical leadership in the design and the on-the-ground execution of the project, and also provided the huge ‘Rubb Hall’ tent under which the facility was constructed; WHO provided technical guidance to ensure adherence to quality standards; The Health Manager of the UN Joint Medical Services provided on-site technical support throughout the process.

In his statement at the commissioning, the United Nations Resident Coordinator, Mr. Sunil Saigal said “This treatment centre is just one part of the UN support to the COVID-19 preparedness and response efforts in Sierra Leone.  In addition to the public health response, we are also supporting, together with many other partners, food and nutrition, water and sanitation and socio-economic recovery.  The last part covers work in many different sectors to help mitigate the negative impact of the pandemic and to allow society to recover from the pandemic – to build back better.” 

Mr. Sunil Saigal further said “While we are still refining our figures, we initially estimate the collective UN Response at over $ 150 million. This amount includes activities and resources within the existing UN Sustainable Development Cooperation Framework, which we have been able to rapidly realign, as well as funding being requested under the COVID-19 Global Humanitarian Response Plan.”

Speaking at the event, the Country Director of DFID, Kobi Bentley, remarked that “DFID is pleased to have played a role in establishing this treatment centre here at Military 34 hospital.  As the world faces the unprecedented challenge of coronavirus, we must work together.  In addition to over £760 million of UK aid made available to global response instruments, including £10 million to UNFPA, the UK continues to support the Sierra Leonean health system.  We will help to maintain vital health services and to tackle coronavirus through the Saving Lives in Sierra Leone programme and our partnership with the Government of Sierra Leone and the UN. The UK stands with Sierra Leone in these difficult times.”

Commenting as she showed guests around the treatment center, the UNFPA Country Representative, Dr. Kim Eva Dickson explained that “this center is a specialized facility that has intensive care equipment that will boost the capacity of the 34 Military Hospital to manage critically-ill COVID-19 patients. Even after the COVID pandemic is over, the center will be available to provide intensive care facilities for other ailments.”  She thanked the government of the United Kingdom for providing funding through UK aid for the equipping of the specialized treatment centre through the Saving Lives in Sierra Leone Programme.

Dr. Kim Eva Dickson also remarked “I am very pleased that UNFPA has been an integral part of this joint UN effort, this is an example of UN collaboration at its best. UNFPA remains committed to supporting the national COVID-19 response whilst ensuring that we remained committed to support the government to strive towards achieving zero preventable maternal deaths, zero unmet need for family planning and zero gender-based violence and harmful practices against women and girls.”

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