By Abdul Fonti – Communication Strategist, Office of the President
The Vice President of the Republic of Sierra Leone, Dr. Mohamed Juldeh Jalloh has officially turned the sod for the construction of an ultra-modern midwifery training school in Kenema, eastern Sierra Leone.
The over twelve million dollars project largely financed by the Islamic Development Bank (IDB) covers the construction of hostels for two hundred male and female students, staff hostels, lecture rooms, electronic library, a family radio channel and provision for buses among other facilities.
This project is in line with giant health system strengthening strides under the leadership of Prof. Alpha Tejan Wurie as Minister of Health and Sanitation.
The occasion in Kenema on Friday January 31 was graced by several distinguished personalities including the health minister, minister of political and public affairs, deputy ministers of information and communication, technical and higher education, the acting chief medical officer, chief nursing officer, traditional authorities and a host of others.
With tremendous gains made already since the project was rejuvenated by the health minister in 2018, it is expected to be completed by December 2020.
Vice President Dr. Mohamed Juldeh Jalloh reiterated that 2020 is a year of accelerated delivery in especially education, food security and health.
“For the health sector, we will continue the strengthen health systems by building and equipping healthcare facilities across the country,” he pointed out, while saluting the health minister and team for what is described as impressive implementation of health projects across the country.
“It would now seem as if every two months, we are either constructing a hospital or commissioning one,” he noted, while speaking on the need for effective management systems of such structures.
According to the VP, no undue bureaucracy will stand on the way of developing Sierra Leone this year.
The Minister of Health and Sanitation, Prof. Alpha Wurie started off by reminding the audience that 2020 has been declared globally as the year of the nurse and midwife. He noted that the turning of the sod for the ultra-modern midwifery training school is already a great start for Sierra Leone.
The health minister used the forum as an opportunity to catalogue some of the major transformative progress in the health sector including effective ambulance services, boost in staff welfare, and construction of health facilities across the country, staff trainings, among others.
He spoke of the dire need to train and evenly deploy midwives across various health facilities in the country.
Among the infrastructural developments completed during his reign include the 100 beds maternal and child specialist hospital in Kailahun, King Harman Road Hospital, Rokupa Government Hospital and the MSF/Government supported hospital in Hanga.
The minister disclosed that the Maculey Street and Lumley Hospitals will all be completed this year.
Minister Wurie announced that a 300 acres health village is being developed in Kerry Town, noting that it will include the construction of a 7,000 meters drug storage facility.
Turning of sod for an ultra-modern cancer center would be done this year, he announced.
Minister of Political and Public Affairs Ambassador Foday Yumkella applauded progress being made in the health sector during the current administration, while urging the health minister to continue to accordingly implement the president’s health agenda.
The Acting Chief Medical Officer said the project supports the government’s human capital development in education, health, employment and infrastructure among others.
He used the forum as an opportunity to caution the general public about the health hazards being posed by the corona virus which has been declared by WHO as a global health emergency.
He called on Sierra Leoneans to engage in good hygiene practices including hand washing and avoid handshake.
“This virus is already too close to be ignored,” he warned.