UN Resident Coordinator, Lancet Commission Pay Courtesy Call On President Koroma

David McLachlan-Karr, United Nations Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative paid President Dr Ernest Bai Koroma a courtesy call at the State Lodge, Hill Station.

During the meeting, the President briefed the UN Resident Coordinator on Government’s policies, priorities, including the ongoing fight against the Ebola outbreak within the Mano River Union, and expressed appreciation for the continued assistance of the United Nations system.

According to President Koroma, government is deeply concerned over the outbreak of the Ebola virus and noted that the figures are increasing daily. “We need to redouble our efforts to contain the outbreak within the shortest possible time. We also have to work collaboratively with Guinea and Liberia to find a way forward as we all need to do more and focus on containing the disease and also intensify contact tracing, even if it means restricting the movement of people. The main objective is to contain the outbreak so it doesn’t have a negative effect on the people and the overall economy,” he said.

The United Nations Resident Coordinator thanked the President for the warm sentiments and assured that the close working relationship would continue to exist between Sierra Leone and the United Nations. He briefed President Koroma on ongoing issues and upcoming projects, as well as exchanged ideas on further strengthening the assistance framework of the United Nations to Sierra Leone, especially in the wake of the Ebola outbreak.

Mr. David McLachlan-Karr is an Australian by nationality and has worked for the UN in Papua New Guinea and Venezuela.

In another development, President Koroma received a delegation from the Lancet Commission on Global Surgery which was in the country to critically look at the barriers to the provision of safe surgery and efforts to overcome them, and making recommendations to Heads of States and ministers and other stakeholders involved in surgical care to move the process significantly.

Welcoming the delegation, President Koroma appreciated the great initiative to provide quality health service, especially surgical care to people at limited or no cost at all. “That is what impresses me because it is obvious that there is need for complicated surgical intervention in most of our medical cases but cannot be afforded by a good number of us even those that are middle income people in Africa.” He further noted that the initiative was consistent with the Free Health Care launched by government in 2010.

President Koroma emphasized that although there are still challenges facing the initiative, the impact has been great, with increase in up-takers, lives have been saved and mortality rates have improved.

The President also assured the delegation of his personal support, as well as at the multilateral level to promote, what he described as, a “great venture”.

Dr Andy Leather who led the delegation profusely thanked the President for his commitment to particularly health, with respect to free access to health care for pregnant women, lactating mothers and children under five. He described the Free Health Care as a tremendous achievement under the leadership of President Koroma.

“What we are aiming to do is try and promote surgery within the global health agenda, but even more importantly try and support national governments in their provision of safe, quality surgery without financial hardship and it has really been a neglected area within the global health sector,” said Dr Leather.

Source : Sierra Leone Government

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