May 11, 2018 By Hassan Gbassay Koroma
The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), with funds from the government of Japan, has donated laboratory equipment to the Laboratory Directorate at the Ministry of Health and Sanitation in Sierra Leone.
The donation was done as part of their ‘Supporting and Strengthening Sub-Regional Post-Ebola Medical Surveillance and Socio-Economic Recovery Initiatives in West Africa project.’
In his handing over ceremony statement yesterday (10th May) at the Lakka Government Hospital, Country Director for UNDP, Dr. Samuel Doe, said he was honoured to hand the laboratory equipment over.
He said the UNDP, as the lead United Nations agency in the field of recovery, has been at the forefront of emergency response and initiatives to combat Ebola, working with government, local, national, regional and international partners and through the United Nations System to change the direction of response to crises, promoting resilience by addressing precarious humanitarian situation, while integrating development in a coordinated manner through sustainable actions at national and regional level.
He explained that in order to fulfil the mission, the UNDP entered into a partnership with the West Africa Health Organization (WAHO) to implement a regional project titled ‘supporting and strengthening sub-regional post-Ebola medical surveillance and socio-economic recovery initiatives in West Africa’ with funding support from the Government of Japan.
Dr. Doe stated that the project aims are to contribute to the overall capacity building for laboratory-based detection and confirmation of public health threats, and that it targeted the three countries affected by the Ebola virus disease in the Mano River Union basin.
He said it was through the regional project that the laboratory equipment for the national reference Lab for Lassa Fever in Kenema and the Central Public Health Reference Laboratory (CPHRL) in Freetown have been secured.
He said the laboratory equipment include two fridges of 20 degrees centigrade, one PCR work station which uses AV light, one autoclave for destruction of culture and tool-kit for maintenance of the equipment going to the National Reference Laboratory in Freetown and a Hematology Analyzer, one fridge of 80 degrees centigrade of calibration machine and one maintenance tool-kit for the National Reference Laboratory for Lassa Fever in Kenema.
The UNDP country boss continued that the regional project was also extended to 30 vulnerable cross-border communities in Samu Chiefdom in the Kambia District, and that some key achievement were made, among which are support to strengthening of local administrative structures such as the Village Development Committee, Inter-Religious Councils, Youth and Women’s Groups to improve resilience and response mechanisms at all levels against future crisis shocks.
He encouraged community-led action by strengthening the capacity of 30 existing Village Development Committees to oversee and monitor the rehabilitation of water wells, toilets and renovation of two Public Health Units.
The UN diplomat said over 10,000 people in communities now have access to improved health, water and sanitation infrastructure through the completion of 30 community wells in all the 30 cross-border communities, one VIP PHU latrine and staff quarter, and two PHUs.
Receiving the donated laboratory equipment, Director of Hospital and Laboratory Services at the Ministry of Health and Sanitation, Dr. Victor Matt-Lebby, recalled that two years ago, the country experienced the Ebola virus disease that caused lots of death simply because it was ill-equipped to fight back, adding that the donation of lab equipment will strengthen the country’s health system.