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First Lady ends week-long fund raising programme in Italy

First Lady ends week-long fund raising programme in Italy

In an effort to further boost the country’s health sector, Sierra Leone’s First Lady Mrs. Sia Nyama Koroma has concluded a week-long fund raising programme in Milan, Italy. The programme which commenced on Tuesday 28th March, ended on Sunday 2nd April 2017.  (Photo: First lady on a conducted tour of San Rafael Hospital, Milan, Italy)

The event was organised by Sierra Leone´s Ambassador to the Federal Republic of Germany also accredited to Italy and Austria, H. E. Jongopie Siaka Stevens, in collaboration with the country´s consulate in Milan, Italy.

The aim of the event was to solicit funds for the establishment of a National Blood Transfusion Centre in Sierra Leone, with its headquarters in Freetown and three regional centres in Bo, Kenema and Makeni respectively.

The Headquarters in Freetown will supply screened blood to major hospitals in Western Area, Port Loko and Kambia District.

The First Lady was the distinguished guest of honour amidst several Italian business magnates, philanthropists and other good-hearted people, whose voluntary financial contribution will be used to implement the first phase of the blood transfusion project in Freetown, with an estimate of a little over 883,000 Euros.

Mrs. Koroma who is keen to see the project fully implemented, emphasised the need for the establishment of such facility and informed that it will lay the foundation for effective healthcare model with a greater focus on prevention and early management of emerging health problems in the country.

She acknowledged the voluntary contributions of all those who pledged their support for what she described as their kind hearts and humanitarian gesture.

First Lady posing with Ambassador Stevens, Minister Rahman, and Italian NGO officials

Meanwhile, the First Lady also seized the opportunity to visit one of the best hospitals for diabetes and metabolic diseases – the San Rafael Hospital in Milan – whose research team, AISPO will partner with the Ministry of Health and Sanitation in Freetown to implement the national blood transfusion project in Sierra Leone.

San Rafael Hospital also has a private university that hosts the Faculty of Medicines and Research. Fruitful discussions were held between the First Lady and the hospital´s medical professionals in areas of cooperation and partnership.

In a similar venture, Ambassador Jongopie Siaka Stevens and Sierra Leone’s Deputy Minister of Health and Sanitation 1, Mrs. Madina Rahman had earlier on engaged several medical institutions including the Italian Minister of Health, Mrs. Beatrice Lorenzin and the Welfare Minister in the Italian District of Lombardy, Don Gallera, for possible areas of assistance towards improving the fragile health system in Sierra Leone.

Their discussions focused on establishing a national blood transfusion centre; enhancing capacity building for medical professionals and improving the delivery system of healthcare in Sierra Leone. These engagements yielded fruitful results with the implementation of the first phase of the national blood transfusion centre in sight.

By Umaru S. Jah, Information Attaché – Germany

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