Laboratory scientists and journalists witnessed the hand-over ceremony at the Lakka laboratory centre outside Freetown ©Alpha Sesay/ UNDP Sierra Leone

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Sierra Leone handed-over laboratory equipment to the Central Public Health Reference Laboratory (CPHRL) in Freetown, and the National Reference for Lassa Virus in Kenema at the National Conference Laboratory in Lakka, Freetown.

The laboratory equipment comprising of fridges, clinical waste disposal and management machines, A PCR work station with Ultra Violet unit, and Haemotology Analyser, are provided by UNDP and the West African Health Organisation (WAHO) who partnered to implement a regional project entitled: “Supporting and Strengthening Sub-regional post Ebola Medical Surveillance and Socio-Economic Recovery in West Africa”.

The initatative  funded by the Government of Japan, aims at contributing to overall capacity building for laboratory-based detection and confirmation of public health threats. It targets the three countries affected by the Ebola virus disease (EVD), which all belong to the Manu River Union (MRU).

During the worst outbreak of the Ebola epidemic that killed over 11,000 people in West Africa, UNDP assisted the government and people of Sierra Leone in coordinating monthly payment to 35,000 frontline health care workers, assisted Ebola survivors’ households with of solidarity kits, installed 6 autoclaves and incinerators in major treatment centres across the country. 

The UNDP Country Director, Samuel Doe said that the hand-over ceremony of laboratory equipment demonstrates the continuous joint endeavor with the Government and people of Sierra Leone for the development of country “I am confident that if we work closely together, just as we have done over the past years, I am sure Sierra Leone will succeed in achieving its development goals”.

The Director of Laboratories in the Medical of Health and Sanitation, Dr. Victor Matt-Lebbie thanked the UNDP and the People of Japan.

He said that the Ministry of Health and Sanitation have been trying to strengthen its response mechanism since the outbreak of the 2014 Ebola. “These equipment will go a long way to both strengthen our capacity to respond in the case of any emerging outbreak.” He reiterated.

Note to editors:

The “Supporting and Strengthening Sub-regional post-Ebola Medical Surveillance and Socio-Economic Recovery in West Africa” project comprised of post-Ebola interventions which included the provision of water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) facilities, refurbishment of Maternal-Child Health (MCH) clinics, and supporting local economic growth through rural saving and loan schemes throughout 110 communities in Sierra Leone that were worst hit by Ebola. This intervention has directly benefited some 10,000 people.

The project’s implementation and sustainability strategy was by strengthening and empowering local administrative structures to decentralize the implementation and management of the project before, during and after implementation. At the grass-roots’ level, Village Development Committees (VDCs) comprising Community elders, Inter Religious, youth and women’s representatives were formed by communities to improve management, outreach and sustainability through community ownership. Furthermore, the project went ahead to strengthen the capacities of the 30 existing VDCs in the border communities to oversee and monitor the rehabilitation of water wells, toilets and PHUs.

30 WASH committee members comprising of 50% men and 50%women (one per village) for   each of the renovated water wells were trained in Hand Pump Water-Well maintenance and management. Community members are also able to take proper care of their rehabilitated wells. As facility management and maintenance bye-laws were established by the community members.  

One of our success stories from this project can be accessed here.

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