In its quest to improve and sustain President Koroma's free health care initiative, the government of King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz al Saud, Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, has dispatched a consignment of medicines worth millions of Saudi Riyals to Sierra Leone.
According to the acting Director General, Emergency Services in the Ministry of Health, Saudi Arabia, Dr. Sulaim Bin Ahmad As Shureiyy, the dispatch includes – capsules, tablets, nasal and mouth sprays, antibiotics, syrups, injections and assorted medicines.
The medicines, the doctor said, are expected to arrive at the Lungi International Airport on a military cargo flight today Wednesday, July 4, 2012. According to Dr. Shureiyy, the drugs were donated on the directives of the late Crown Prince, His Royal Highness Naif Bin Abdulaziz – who also doubled as Deputy Premier and Minister of Interior.
It could be recalled that in last February, the Saudi Minister of Health, Dr. Abdullah Rabeeah made an announcement about the approval of the supply of medicines to Sierra Leone. This is not the first time Saudi Arabia has helped Sierra Leone in the field of health services. Early this year, a medical team of a Saudi-based humanitarian organization, Physicians Across Continents (PAC) comprising 30 paramedics, visited Serra Leone and provided free medical treatment in Freetown and in some towns and villages outside the capital.
During their 10 days stay in Sierra Leone, the doctors who are mostly blood vessel surgeons, general surgeons, pediatricians, gynaecologists, anaesthesiologists and dentists reportedly treated about 1,500 patients including infants, children, men and women.
Commenting on the supply of drugs to Sierra Leone, Dr. Sa'ad Ali Al-Garni, Consultant of Vascular Surgery at the King Faisal Specialist Hospital and Research Center in Riyadh, who headed the PAC team composed of health professionals from the United States, Saudi Arabia, Russia, Sweden, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon and Malaysia said: "The supply of medicines to Sierra Leone is very timely and it's a great gesture which indicates the humanitarian sentiments of the Saudi King and the late Crown Prince."
The news of the medical supply to Sierra Leone has been overwhelmingly welcomed in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia by both the country's embassy and its nationals.
Shortly before he left for Freetown last Sunday to join senior government officials in the reception of the drugs, Sierra Leone's Ambassador to Saudi Arabia, Wusu Bryne Munu, on behalf of the government and people of Sierra Leone expressed thanks and appreciation to the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques and his government for their continuous and generous support to the government and people of Sierra Leone.
The envoy said the donation would go a long way to boost President Koroma's agenda for improving the domestic health sector.
It could also be recalled that on assumption of office in 2007, President Koroma listed health as one of the priority areas in his Agenda for Change. In April 2010, the president launched the free health care program for children under five, pregnant women and lactating mothers. Since then, it has achieved remarkable success and has also received the support, endorsement and commendation of many institutions and high profile personalities in the world, including former British Prime Minister, Tony Blair.
Meanwhile, senior Saudi government officials left the Kingdom on Monday night to join their Conakry-based Ambassador, Amjad bin Hussain Al-Badawi, who is also the non-resident Ambassador to Sierra Leone in the presentation ceremony.