Japanese Government $16 M Funded Pediatric Center of Excellence Commissioned

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By Foday Moriba Conteh

The Government of Japan, through the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), on Friday, June 14, 2024 officially handed over a state-of-the-art pediatric hospital valued at $16.6 million to Constituency 132 in Lumley, Freetown. This initiative supports President Julius Maada Bio’s dedication to enhancing universal health coverage in Sierra Leone.

The newly inaugurated President Dr. Julius Maada Bio Pediatric Centre of Excellence boasts a bed capacity of 166 for patients and 46 for mothers in the Special Baby Care Unit. The facility includes an emergency room, an operating theater, a specialized outpatient clinic, a pediatric intensive care unit, a high-dependency unit, an isolation unit, a surgical ward, an oncology special care unit, a kangaroo mother care unit, and a special baby care unit.

Deputy Minister of Health, Dr. Jalikatu Mustapha, highlighted that the new hospital is among the best in the region in terms of equipment, facilities and bed capacity. She emphasized that the existing Ola During Hospital, with its 160 beds, was overwhelmed by the number of children it served, prompting President Bio to seek assistance from Japan for the construction of the new pediatric center.

Hon. Tawa Conteh, the Member of Parliament for Constituency 132 and Deputy Speaker of Parliament, credited the project’s success to the Government’s resolution to compensate thousands of squatters on the property. He expressed gratitude to the residents of Lumley for their vigilance over the project and their faith in President Bio’s Government.

JICA Chief Representative in Sierra Leone, Madam Suzuki Momoko, marked the ceremony as memorable, particularly due to the rain preceding the event. She assured that the hospital is equipped with modern medical technology, which will significantly improve healthcare quality for children in Sierra Leone.

Minister of Health, Dr. Austin Demby, praised President Bio for his visionary leadership and unwavering commitment to achieving universal health coverage, ensuring no one is left behind.

President Julius Maada Bio hailed the completion of the hospital as a milestone in Sierra Leone’s pursuit of human capital development. He recounted the motivation for the project, citing the country’s high infant mortality rate and the overcrowding at the Ola During Hospital six years ago. He expressed deep gratitude to the Government of Japan and JICA for their timely completion of the project and to the Ministry of Health and Ola During Hospital for their dedication to saving lives.


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