Sequel to an earlier donation made to the COVID 19 Emergency Operation Center (EOC) in Freetown, the Lebanese Community again on Friday 15th May 2020 made another landmark gesture towards tackling the pandemic in Sierra Leone by handing over a refurbished ward.
This time, the Community, through their COVID 19 Task Force took the wholesome venture of refurbishing the Male Surgical Ward of the 34 Military Hospital, where the afflicted COVID 19 patients are tended to. The refurbished ward was handed over with 30 beds to complement the government’s efforts in containing the Corona Virus and further strengthen the health care system in the country. Identifying with the people of Sierra Leone in times of need is no strange phenomenon to the Lebanese Community. They had always stood willing and ready to support the government and the people of Sierra Leone in diverse sectors. It could be recalled that during the Ebola outbreak in 2014, the Lebanese Community stood by the people and played a pivotal role in helping the government of Sierra Leone to defeat the Ebola Virus disease outbreak. The Task Force made the handing over through Lieutenant Colonel H.S Kamara who received the delegation headed by Lebanon’s Envoy to Sierra Leone, HE Ambassador Hadi Jaber, and the Chairman for the Lebanese COVID-19 Taskforce, Mr. Hashim Hashim.
Lieutenant Colonel H.S Kamara welcomed the delegation and thanked the Lebanese Community for the kind gesture, saying renovating the ward was a remarkable stride made in the fight against the coronavirus.
“When Sierra Leone recorded its first COVID-19 case; the Lebanese Community was the first to respond handy. They fully came on board since and pledged their determination to contribute to the response which we are continuing to see with the refurbishing of the ward,” said Lieutenant Colonel H.S Kamara.
He especially commended the speed with which the exercise was conducted. “In a short space of time after the pledge, the work started and now the ward is ready for use. I am impressed,” Kamara noted.
The military doctor said the gesture was an outstanding one to the health care system in Sierra Leone and the 34 Hospital in particular. “This actualizes to a large extent, the vision of the Minister of Defence to expand the hospital’s infrastructural space to accommodate more patients.”
The COVID-19 National Case Management Pillar Lead, Lieutenant Colonel (Dr) S. Sevalie in his statement explained that the refurbishment of the male surgical department will help immensely in taking good care of the patient that is infected with the coronavirus. He added that the refurbished male surgical ward would enable them to provide the best service possible to every single case that comes to the facility.
Gratified by the compliments, Ambassador Hadi Jaber commended the Minister of Defence and Brigadier General (Rtd) Kellie Conteh who also doubles as the Coordinator of the Emergency Operation Center for their tireless efforts to completely wipe out the coronavirus from Sierra Leone.
“The Lebanese community is proud to renovate the male surgical ward of the 34 Military Hospital. While we continue to respect the laws of Sierra Leone, we are also delighted to give our contribution in support of the developmental activities of the country,” he said. The Ambassador concluded by sending a solidarity message to H.E President Bio and entire people of Sierra Leone.
The Chairman for the Lebanese COVID-19 Taskforce, Mr. HashimHashim informed the gathering that they are also part of the COVID-19 fight in Sierra Leone. He called on all Sierra Leoneans to put more efforts and join the Emergency Operation Center to wipe out entirely Corona Virus in the country.
Dr. Bash Taqi, the Deputy Chief Medical Officer who represents the Ministry of Health and Sanitation stated in his appreciation that it’s not strange to see the Lebanese community helping the people of Sierra Leone.
Dr. Taqi explained that in the early 1960s, the Lebanese built the first children’s hospital in Sierra Leone. “You have become part of this country, and many Lebanese now consider themselves as Sierra Leoneans so we are very grateful for identifying yourself with the people of this country.” he posited.
The medico said health facilities were but important to be improved as whenever health war breaks out in the country, medical doctors and nurses take the lead and one way to step up efforts in such fights is to support the doctors and nurses, equip them and health facilities with the right gadgets like what the Lebanese community has done.
“I take this opportunity to commend all frontline medical doctors and nurses working day and night to eradicate the deadly coronavirus from the country. I also thank the Lebanese Community for their persistent support to the people of Sierra Leone,” he said, adding that the Ministry of Health will always consider them as partners in the health sector.
The Minister of Defence, Brigadier General (Rtd) Kellie Conteh expressed appreciation to be part of such development that adds another feather to the cap of the Ministry of Health. He said that as Coordinator of the Emergency Response Center and Minister of Defense, he aims to uplift the 34 Military Hospital to a sophisticated standard to serve the people of Sierra Leone.
Brigadier General (Rtd) Kellie Conteh enlightened that when COVID-19 entered this country, H.E President Bio called for help and the Lebanese community answered that call by renovating the male surgical wards of the 34 Military Hospital. He thanked the Lebanese community for such a gesture to the health sector, as the refurbished facility will not only help in the fight to end COVID-19 but will also support the entire health system.
He assures the Lebanese community that they would put the facility to proper use and take good care of it.