The government of Sierra Leone and the government of Cuba will today sign and exchange documents of a joint commission on economic, scientific and technical cooperation today.
The ceremony will take place at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation in Freetown where the first session of the intergovernmental commission round table discussion is being held.
In his opening remarks Cuba’s First Vice President in the Ministry for foreign investment and economic cooperation, Lic Ramon Ripoll said that, in 2005, the President of Cuba and Sierra Leone adopted a number of agreements to widen the cooperation in the health sector and to extend it to education and sports.
He added that, by virtue of these agreements, the Cuban medical brigade has been working in this country for three years and recently a donation of the Cuban government of a comprehensive diagnostic center arrived in Freetown.
The Vice President maintained that, “as far as we know, this centre should be set up in the Connaught hospital, which is a national referral and occupies a terminal position within the health system of Sierra Leone”.
Mr Ripoll noted that, the Cuban medical brigade, of 20 members was working in Freetown, Bo and Makeni and today with nine health professionals working in Freetown and in the district of Bombali, specifically in the region of Kamabai and in the hospital at Massanga.
He disclosed that the results gained in these three years are palpable: 159,737 surgeries, visits 30,002; a total of 4,039 have been operated on; 2,725 labors; 994 cesareans; 13,086 lives have been saved among others are indicators that give faith to the fundamental thing that this cooperation (between Sierra Leone and Cuba) has been.
The Cuban Vice President of the Ministry of Investment and Economic Cooperation revealed that a total of 54 Sierra Leonean students have graduated, four out of them from higher level and 13 of middle level.
Today he said we signed the intergovernmental commission between Cuba and Sierra Leone and we will have the opportunity to write and approve the program of cooperation between our two countries for the next two years.
In her statement, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Zainab Bangura said “our two countries have enjoyed, and still today continue to enjoy a warm and close relationship”.
She added that, the links and cooperation between our two countries have been firmly established over a few decades.
Mrs Bangura noted that bilateral relations and mutual cooperation between Cuba and Sierra Leone have been further strengthened over the years by complimentary visits by high level delegations to both Havana and Freetown.
The foreign minister maintained that today the Cuba / Sierra Leone joint commission will focus on areas of education, youth and sports and health.
“We have been particularly impressed at Cuba’s sterling performance in these areas, even in the face of acute adverse effects of global economic trends and political upheavals” stated the Foreign Minister.
She intimated that, it is our fervent hope that any agreement we will sign and the overall relationship between Cuba and Sierra Leone, will be further enhanced, strengthened and consolidated, over the coming years.