Freetown, Feb. 12, 2015 (MOHS) – The newly constructed Sierra Leone-China Bio- Safety Fixed Laboratory at the Jui Hospital has been officially unveiled by the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Dr. Samura Kamara.
The unveiling ceremony which was held on Wednesday February 11, 2015 attracted the participation of the Minister of Health and Sanitation, the Chief Executive Officer, National Ebola Response Centre, the Chinese Ambassador to Sierra Leone and Leader of the Chinese delegation to Sierra Leone.
The $4.35 million complex supported by the China Centre for Disease Control (CDC) Beijin Urban Construction Group has a test capacity of 100 blood samples per day for Ebola, and in the post Ebola era will focus on other dangerous virus and bacteria including TB, cholera, Lassa Fever and Malaria. It has a scientific research facility with the potential to be marketed internationally.
Making his statement, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Dr. Samura Kamara described the bilateral and cordial relationship between Sierra Leone and China as resourceful and very strategic for over 40 years.
He said the effectiveness of Chinese aid is the quality of gains realized in the past, and in the current Ebola crisis. Access to aid from the Chinese government, Dr. Kamara, said has been always timely and appropriate with flexible conditionality.
Dr. Kamara described the complex as an integrated structure for the entire sub region that could be internationally marketed, disclosing that the formal handing over ceremony will have the participation and blessings of the President, Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma.
Health and Sanitation Minister, Dr. Abu Bakarr Fofanah said the event marks another milestone in the country’s collective effort and bilateral relationship with China.
Commenting on President Koroma’s clarion call for support from the international community during the Ebola outbreak, China, Dr. Fofanah noted was the first country to respond to the call in record time.
The structure he said will be enshrined in the Agenda for Prosperity, noting that it would provide support to the College of Medicines and Allied Health Sciences (COMAHS) University of Sierra Leone, and sustainable for posterity.
Dr. Fofanah enumerated past and recent assistance from the Chinese Government and people, which included infrastructure, medical equipment, personal protective equipment, mobility, mobile laboratories, training, technical support and professional personnel among others.
The Chinese Ambassador to Sierra Leone, Zhao Yanbo on behalf of the Chinese Government and China CDC Team said the speedy completion of the Level P3 Laboratory was due to the cooperation and support from the Ministry of Health, NERC and the Foreign Ministry of Sierra Leone.
“China believes that strengthening basic health system, establishing an effective disease surveillance system are key measures in post Ebola era. With the completion of the Lab, China wishes it can serve as a platform in deepening health cooperation between the two countries”, opined Ambassador Yanbo.
He dilated on the numerous supports Sierra Leone has received from China including 400 medical professionals and technicians in the fight against the Ebola deadly disease, and reiterated his government’s commitment to providing more assistance in the areas of Health, Education and Agriculture.
The Chief Executive Officer, National Ebola Response Centre (NERC), Rtd. Major Palo Conteh, Leader of the Chinese Team, Ren Min-Ghui, Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Brima Kargbo, and the Permanent Secretary and Chairman for the occasion, Mr. David Banya also made meaningful contributions.