By Ransford Lube-Metzger
First Lady Mrs. Fatima Bio on Wednesday 29th July, 2020 presided over the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding MoU which seeks to provide free emergency and medical treatment to victims of rape.
The purpose of this Memorandum of Understanding is to acknowledge and formally agree with the Aberdeen Women’s Center to provide free Medicare to survivors of sexual and gender based violence and also to define the roles and responsibilities of each party as well as regulate the emergency medical referral procedures within the Sierra Leone Police and National Medical Service.
Dr, Kofi King from Aberdeen Women’s Center informed his audience that his institution has over the years been treating SGBV victims, adding that they are happy that the First Lady Fatima Bio in collaboration with the Sierra Leone Police and other partners have signed this MoU which, he said would go a long way to ensure that SGBV victims receive the best professional care.
On his part, Ricardo Buson, Director of Operations National Emergency Medical Service informed his audience that they have been working with the SLP and are glad that the partnership is now official, adding that much more can be done with the signing of the MoU.
Inspector General of Police, Michael Ambrose Sovula called on rapists to desist from the act because rapists have no place in society. He added that with the synergy now established between and among the different partners, much would be achieved in protecting women and girls while capturing perpetrators.
First Lady Mrs. Fatima Bio thanked Aberdeen Women’s Center and the National Emergency Medical Service for consenting to sign the MoU. She stated that although there are ambulances at hospitals around the country, it is necessary to ensure that they are used properly and extensively as possible. She thanked the Ministry of Health and Sanitation for purchasing the ambulances but called on them to allow the partners of the MoU to have access to these ambulances to convey SGBV victims from especially remote areas to health facilities free of charge.
She added that efforts are being made to reduce the number of rape victims and at the same time ensure that rape victims receive the attention they deserve, while the state punishes perpetrators.
The climax of the event which was held at the Office of the First Lady, Spur Road in Freetown, was the signing of the MoU between the Inspector General of Police, a representative from the Aberdeen Women’s Center and the National Emergency Medical Service.