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Sierra Leone: ICRC constructs new ward and water pipeline for Kenema District Hospital

18-01-2001 News Release 01/02

The Sierra Leonean Minister of Health and Sanitation, Dr Ibrahim I. Tejan-Jalloh, last week officially inaugurated a new 48-bed ward constructed by the ICRC at Kenema District Hospital. Addressing more than 100 guests at the opening ceremony, the minister praised the ICRC's efforts to support health care in Sierra Leone. He also commended the ICRC for constructing a five-kilometre pipeline that will provide sufficient quantities of safe water for Kenema hospital.

These projects are the last in a series of major infrastructure improvements which the ICRC has carried out at the hospital, including the construction of a new operating theatre, the rehabilitation of the existing theatre and the installation of a powerful generator. Speaking at the ceremony, the ICRC head of delegation in Sierra Leone, Patrick Vial, expressed his hope that " the ICRC's support for Kenema Hospital will have a lasting impact, so that on the day the ICRC finally leaves Kenema, its absence will not even be noticed " .

Since September 1999, an ICRC surgical team at Kenema Hospital has been providing specialized care and general surgery for patients unable to afford the treatment they need. In 2000, 1,283 operations were carried out with the support of the ICRC, which provides medical equipment, drugs and experienced staff. The ICRC also assists four primary health care clinics and a maternity hospital in the capital, Freetown.

Apart from its medical programmes, the ICRC in Sierra Leone has been distributing relief supplies to hundreds of thousands of vulnerable war victims, many of whom have had to leave their homes. It also works to reunite families separated by the war and to promote awareness of international humanitarian law among combatants and politicians and within civil society. Many of the ICRC's activities are carried out in close collaboration with the Sierra Leone Red Cross Society.