Handing over the vehicles, the Ambassador of Japan to the Republic of Sierra Leone, Kaoru Yoshimura said the project was launched as a result of the outbreak of the Ebola virus in the country.
He informed the gathering that the Ebola virus disease claimed the lives of so many people and the government of Japan committed four million dollars ($4,000,000) to support the project to meet its aims and objectives.
Ambassador Yoshimura cited a number of medical items including generators, vehicles and other related equipment costing over 1.6 million dollars was delivered to Sierra Leone during the past two years under the above mentioned project.
He disclosed that in March this year, four vehicles and two (2) thermal cameras were handed over to the Ministry which has now been set up at the Freetown International Airport.
He expressed hope that the vehicles handed over will be part of the essential tools to strengthen the health system through support to curb any medical emergencies at all time.
Receiving the donation, the Acting Minister of Health and Sanitation I, Madam Madina Rahman said the Ebola public health emergency was declared in the country in an effort to eradicate the Ebola virus in the country.
She recalled that it was in response of the clarion call made by the President that the people of Japan donated drugs and medical supplies to Sierra Leone worth millions of dollars which were judiciously utilized in holding and treatment centres, and public health facilities across the country.
Madam Rahman reiterated that 48 silent generators, 400 modern hospital beds and 200,000 litres of fuel were also provided and were distributed to all District Health Management Teams to strengthen referral systems adding that the beds were also distributed to the four tertiary hospitals in Freetown, regional and district hospitals.
The Minister stated that in November 2015 when the fight against Ebola virus succeeded, the Ministry in consultation with the Japanese government decided to procure twenty (20) ambulances and fourteen (14) utility vehicles from the balance resources of the Japanese Government grant to Sierra Leone for the fight against the Ebola scourge. She said the ten (10) more vehicles expected will be added to the fleet of ambulances meant for the national ambulance services to commence soon.
The Acting Chief Medical Officer, Ministry of Health and Sanitation, Dr. Sarian Kamara said Japan has been a close friend and an important partner of the government of Sierra Leone for the past years, adding that during the outbreak Japan was one of the countries that aided Sierra Leone.
She described the support by Japan during the Ebola outbreak as critical and expressed gratitude for their continued support to the government and people of Sierra Leone for the health system recovery.
Dr. Kamara maintained that one of the most crucial parts of ensuring service accessibility in the country is a good referral system through the establishment of an ambulance service. She added that the 20 ambulances will contribute to improving the referral system and also help the government to reach the objective of saving 600 mothers and 5000 children by the end of the year.