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24th June 2018

The Health Ministry Welcomes China's Biological Safety Lab Project in Freetown!

By a press release (11/06/18)

The Ministry of Health & Sanitation has welcomed the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) project in Sierra Leone.


Reports say the unveiling of the second phase of the Fixed Biological Safety Laboratory Technical Cooperation Project at the Bintumani hotel in Freetown was done by both the Health Ministry and the Chinese scientists. (Photo: Dr. Wurie, Sierra Leone's Health Minister).

The general objective of the project is to enhance Sierra Leone’s capacity for Infectious Diseases Prevention and Control by supporting the Development of Disease Surveillance and Laboratory System.

Dr. Dong Xiaoping, the Director China CDC noted at the launching ceremony that the project would support national surveillance and early warning of emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases in Sierra Leone by detecting diseases like Ebola, Dengue Fever, Yellow Fever, Zika and Lassa Fever and other similar diseases.

He said they would ensure this by providing technical support on disease surveillance system establishment with preparedness and response to public health emergency event. (Photo: Chinese and First Lady Fatima Bio with Health Minister Dr. Alpha Wurie).

He said that the expected outcomes of the project was to recognize epidemic and pathogenic feature of the fatal infectious diseases in Western Area District and to enhance the capacity of the local staffs both in clinical and public health in the identification, diagnosis, treatment and prevention of infectious diseases in the country.

In line with the capacity building for local staffs in the area of laboratory practice and disease surveillance, Dr. Dong revealed that China has already sent in 60 Chinese experts to Sierra Leone and there would be a training opportunity for 30 Sierra Leoneans public health professionals and would further recommend outstanding local staff to further studies in China.

The World Health Organization (WHO) representative Dr. Charles Njuguna commended the Chinese CDC team for such project noting that the result of the project was seen at China-Sierra Leone Friendship Hospital at Jui.

He pointed out that the laboratory at Jui is offering treatments that were not available in the country and that the lab has given a resilience to lab system in the country. He said WHO has been challenged with the prevalence of malaria and Hepatitis B in the country but they are happy that the Chinese CDC is now helping in that direction. He noted the water surveillance system also capture under the project is very much good for environmental health.

Ambassador WU Peng, highlighted that disease control is very much important as the recent Ebola outbreak in Democratic Republic of Congo has posed serious threats to not only Congo's economic development as a country, but also the entire African continent. Ambassador WU, said the Ebola outbreak in Sierra Leone was able to reverse striving and stable economic growth to a complete breakdown and the disease was only defeated through collaborated efforts from the International community and Sierra Leone. He said disease control is very good for socioeconomic development and that he has confidence in the new administration of president Julius Maada Bio to prioritize disease control and win in that direction. (Photo: Chinese partners with Sierra Leone officials in Freetown).

The Ambassador noted that the medical lab at Jui belongs to Sierra Leone being handed over to the Ministry of Health. He noted that they would continue to support capacity improvement of local staff for the future operations of the lab at Jui and that he hoped by 2020 Sierra Leone would be able to run the laboratory system by allocating fund to it operation. He concluded by saying that China always has the health of Sierra Leoneans in mind and they would continue to stand ready to help the country build excellent medical team.

In his statement, the Deputy Minister of Health & Sanitation said that the friendship between Sierra Leone and China is a relationship that benefits both nations and that China has made significant contributions to improving Sierra Leone health sector. He said flying in health experts to work with the local staff and also providing medical scholarships in various field has been very visible.

He declares that the project resonates with president Bio’s agenda on health under the New Direction. He noted that president Bio's Inaugural speech emphasied on the need for improving the surveillance system for the prevention of viral diseases outbreak.


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