He described the event as a journey for the development of Sierra Leone particularly in health system strengthening adding that his government is poised to transform the country through the post Ebola Presidential Recovery Priorities Plan and the lessons learned from the Ebola.
The President recalled previous visits to the hospital before the launch of the Free Health Care Initiative in 2010 when the hospital was in a poor state, but now seen with an improved condition.
The rehabilitation and construction of 47 newly health facilities across 11 districts in the country from 2015-2016, President Koroma said will help save the lives of millions of women and children in Sierra Leone, describing these facilities as community owned property and encouraged the people of Kenema to handle the structures with care. “You must be watch dogs to ensure control measures are put in place to demonstrate community ownership”.
He said any negative attitude to the ongoing development is unacceptable and warned the Kenema people to stop the culture of arson noting that the past days of burning their medical stores and maternity ward was disgusting and negative to the agenda of the sustainable development goals and in building a resilient health system.
President Koroma expressed gratitude to the European Union for funding the project, and thanked UNICEF the implementing partner for the successful completion of the project.
Making his statement, the EU Commissioner, Peter Versteeg said the commissioning of the pediatric Ward represents an important milestone in promoting maternal and child health and reducing mortality.
He noted the shortage of human resource for health for which he said the EU in collaboration with UNICEF have played a pivotal role in providing technical assistance to train personnel in different health programmes, and reiterated the EU continued commitment to support the President’s Post Ebola Recovery Priorities.
Deputy Minister of Health and Sanitation II, Madam Zuliatu Cooper disclosed the provision of additional beds from 40 to 70 to avoid overcrowding in the wards as well as keeping the children in a healthy and safe environment.
She also reminded her audience about various health development programs and the newly constructed Intensive Care Unit (ICU) to address critical cases with complications.
Madam Cooper said the new medical store with good storage facility and 24 hours power supply demonstrates the government’s commitment in building a resilient health system across the country.
Other highlights include statements from the UNICEF Representative, Geoff Wiffin, the District Medical Officer, Dr. Mohamed Vandi, cutting of the tape by Deputy Minister II and a conducted tour of the facilities.