In order to complement President Koroma’s Free Health Care Initiative 30 Cuban doctors sponsored by the Government of South Africa have arrived in the country to help boost the health sector.
Addressing journalists at the Lungi International Airport minutes before their arrival, the Public Relations Officer in the Ministry of Health and Sanitation Jonathan Abass Kamara said the 30-man Cuban brigade comprise of obstetricians, gynecologists, psychiatrists, biomedical engineers and other specialists in various areas in the medical field.
He said their arrival is because of an agreement between the Government of Sierra Leone and Cuba with support from the South African government, noting their mission is to come and help boost the health care system by working in close collaboration with the Ministry of Health and Sanitation.
Mr. Kamara said the doctors would be deployed in Bo, Kenema, Makeni, Kono and Port- Loko and at the Lungi Hospital, Connaught Hospital, Princess Christian Maternity Hospital (PCMH), Ola During Children’s Hospital and the Kissy Mental Hospital.
“Their presence will be seen in all the government hospitals within the various districts,” he said.
In his remarks upon the arrival of the Cuban doctors, South African High Commissioner in Ghana Jeanette T. Ndhilova thanked the Cuban doctors for coming to Africa adding Cubans in Africa are not strange. He noted South Africa will never forget Cuba, stating when South Africans were fighting for their freedom the Cuban government contributed a lot in terms of supports.
“This is our own little way of contributing to the betterment to the lives of the people of Sierra Leone,” Mr. Ndhilova disclosed adding the South African government will be responsible to pay the doctors salary for a period of five years.
Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Cuba Jarge F. Lefebre Ncohola’s thanked the government of South Africa and promised the team will do their utmost best in addressing health issues in Sierra Leone.
In her address upon their arrival, Honorary Consul of South Africa to Sierra Leone Madam Aminata Kally thanked the South African government for what they have done for the people of Sierra Leone, adding it really demonstrates a sign of brotherly love and that South Africa has acted as an elderly brother.
She said Sierra Leone would always be thankful to South Africa for providing the finance and to the Cuban government for sending their doctors to Sierra Leone.
The Coordinator Sierra Leone Cuban Medical Project Yayah Conteh welcomed the 30-man Brigade team from Cuba on behalf of the Government of Sierra Leone and the Ministry of Health and Sanitation. He assured them of the government’s supports and encouraged them to feel at home.
A two-day orientation ceremony has ended over the weekend at Hotel Mariam Aberdeen wherein the country’s profile was presented to them and their different areas of deployment.