UAE investor poised to boost health sector
According to findings by Sierra Express Media, UAE-based Radcon Imaging and Oncology Solutions Limited has expressed interest in partnering with the Government to upgrade the health sector especially in the area of imaging and laboratory units.
In a pro-poor Public Private Partnership proposal presented to the Government, Radcom Imaging Solutions Limited will build, equip and manage seventeen imaging and laboratory units to improve health outcomes.
In a letter addressed to His Excellency, Rtd. Brigadier Julius Maada Bio, the company apprised the President on Poverty Alleviation through the establishment of Pro-Poor Diagnostic Centers and Training in Medical Imaging in Sierra Leone.
“The first proposal focuses on the establishment of a diagnostic imaging and wellness center in three major cities-Freetown, Bo, and Makeni to provide comprehensive services in radiology such as CT, MRI scanning, X-Rays, Mammography, OPG, Fluoroscopy, Ultra sound and Endoscopy”, according to Mr Joseph William Ovat, Director at Radcon Imaging and Oncology Solutions Imaging and lead Consultant at the Connaught Teaching Hospital.
He further assured that these services would be backed with ‘an insurance payment system to ensure every citizen is given access to services they need.
In addition, special packages have been created for members of the Army, Police, Correctional, Fire-fighter, Customs and Immigration, as well as the poor to ensure health equality.
The second proposal entails the enrolment of men and women in imaging training at the Eastern Polytechnic in Kenema to meet the workforce needs of the National Radiotherapy Programmes at Kerry Town.
The proposal envisages the creation of jobs for many and contributes significantly to socio-economic empowerment in line with the National Development Plan.
Mr Ovat, Director disclosed that “our proposal has received approval from State House and we are now on the verge to working out the details of the PPP with the newly appointed Minister of Health and Sanitation, Dr Austin Demby,” adding that the project has three components including infrastructure development, which entails the construction of imaging and laboratory units in 17 Government Hospitals; procurement of equipment for imaging and laboratory, and workforce development.
“Currently, there is an investor in Freetown who is keen to invest in the project but would like to meet with the Chief Minister to discuss modalities for the implementation of the project,” Mr. Ovat stated, adding that “there is a short window of opportunity as the investor is not resident in Sierra Leone and would like to return to the United Arab Emirates (UAE)”. He emphasized that meeting the Chief Minister was the most important step to set the project on course.
In further communiqué to the Chief Minister dated 16th November, 2020, Mr Ovat noted that the lack of life saving services such as functioning dialysis units has adverse effects on patient survival resulting in avoidable deaths. Hence the need for a 3-pronged approach is proposed, which include the deployment of 100 physicians, surgeons and specialist medical officers from Nigeria under the Technical Aids Corp. and in the spirit of the South-South cooperation in Sub Saharan Africa.
Mr Ovat said that ‘the submission of the proposal is timed to coincide with the visit of the Country Director of Halo-Group Nigeria who has shown considerable interest in our project proposals.’
The critical aspect of the proposal is the funding mechanism, which Mr Ovat mentioned in his earlier letter addressed to the Chief Minister dated 25th January, 2020. “However, following a tour of the Connaught Teaching Hospital, the investor offered a pathway for funding of critical healthcare projects through the allocation of crude oil to Sierra Leone on a government to government basis, with proceeds of the sale being channelled into the relevant projects.”
By Julian Walker
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