March 11, 2015 By Alusine Sesay
While thanking the Chinese government and people for the provision of a fixed level 3 bio-safety laboratory which he described as a great opportunity in the promotion of the health sector, President Ernest Bai Koroma has vowed to support the policies of China in Sierra Leone.
President Koroma noted that, “Our journey with China started 40 years ago and every step has seen evidence of support in development. The journey has been long but very interesting and every step shows significant milestone.”
He said the relationship between China and Sierra Leone was put to test during the outbreak of the Ebola virus disease, noting that Beijing responded promptly and adequately with the provision of financial, logistics and personnel support to fight the scourge.
He maintained that, “We have not yet completed the fight against Ebola and the lab would provide us the needed support towards zero new Ebola infection in country. Our hope is to build a resilient health sector as a post-Ebola measure and the lab would serve as a basis to achieving such goal.”
He inspired Sierra Leonean health practitioners to make use of the Chinese medical opportunities to build their capacities for the future.
In his short address, China’s Ambassador to Sierra Leone, H.E. Zhao Yanbo disclosed that the mobile labs, which he said have inspected 8,000 specimens, would be closed and replaced by the fixed lab.
He promised more training opportunities for Sierra Leonean medical practitioners both in country and in China, thus calling on the Chinese medical team to work hand-in-glove with their local counterparts to defeat the Ebola virus.
He promised to work with the Sierra Leone government to transform the China-Sierra Leone Friendship hospital into both a medical complex and training centre for health practitioners.
He described the lab as a significant milestone for Sierra Leone’s public health development as it would lay a solid foundation for preventing and protecting against future epidemics.
He reiterated further that the lab is a milestone in the China-Sierra Leone relationship, underscoring that he has great expectation that the lab would do better.