At a ceremony which took place at the Physiotherapy section of the Joint Medical Unit of the Republic of Sierra Leone Armed Forces (RSLAF) the United States Embassy yesterday unveiled and dedicated laboratory equipment and a laboratory to the 34 Military hospital.
In his statement, the first lady Sia Koroma said that with the equipment donated this will prevent people from travelling to Ghana for diagnostic tests because this country lacks laboratory equipment.
He commended the soldiers as she sees them as management who have been striving in their own way to ensure that medical facilities are extended to a lot of people.
The first lady called on the Embassy to train those who will be using the equipment and on how to interpret the result as this will help the doctors in doing their work.
Ambassador June Carter Perry in her statement said that US Embassy contributes to the fight against disease in Sierra Leone in many ways and their programme provides condoms and anti-retroviral therapy.
Their progamme also includes providing education on the prevention and spread of AIDS and how to live a positive life with HIV.
Ambassador Carter Perry said that these equipments which include microscopes, CD4 counters, and assorted equipment will enable the soldiers to protect themselves, their colleagues and their families.
The Ambassador stated that she is happy for the equipments as this shows their partnership with the people of this country but noted that they are “nowhere near where we want to be in terms of protecting young and old, treating those who need it, and ensuring that those with HIV are respected for their courage to be open about their status rather than shunned by their communities.”
The US Ambassador said that because the people are faced with lots of problems including lack of hospital, and the few that are available have a lot of patients and people living in the rural part of the country cannot have access to hospitals – the RSLAF steps in to save civilians from all these tensions through the military hospital.
The Ambassador maintained that stigma is still an obstacle to HIV testing and treatment and urged citizens to treat people with HIV with compassion and support rather than ostracising them. “When stigma is reduced, testing becomes a regular part of life rather than a terrifying or threatening experience.”
The Minister of Defence Palo Conteh said that this shows the fulfillment of the president’s dreams of making the lives of Sierra Leoneans better.
Brigadier Kestoria Kabia Assistant Chief of Defence Staff, said that the 34 military hospital has received modern equipment from the government but as technology improved the machines became of no use.
She said that the United States Embassy has made a lot of donations which includes a VCT center in Bo and with the donation of these modern equipment, the RSLAF has now become a modern institution.
She added that the support of the Embassy is not limited to the areas of health in the military but other sectors including legal. By Betty Milton