State House, Freetown, Tuesday 19 December 2023 –His Excellency President Dr Julius Maada Bio has received and welcomed the 24th Chinese Medical Team to Sierra Leone, recalling their role in the successful fight against COVID-19.
Ambassador Wang Qing of the People’s Republic of China and the team were presented to the President by the Minister of Health, Dr Austin Demby, who made the point that the Chinese government had been sending medical aid overseas for 60 years now, adding that Sierra Leone has also benefitted from the medical charity for 50 years.
His Excellency was delighted that since 1973, the People’s Republic of China had dispatched a total of 24 medical teams to Sierra Leone; treated over 1 million people; performed over 200,000 surgeries; and trained over 5,000 health workers.
He vividly recalled that when Sierra Leone recorded its first COVID-19 case in March 2020, there was only a 30-bed treatment center at 34 Military Hospital, which had been donated by the Chinese Government. He said that China was also amongst the first to send COVID-19 vaccines and medical equipment to Sierra Leone.
The President also noted that his country was forever grateful to the People’s Republic of China for being a true friend, adding that Sierra Leone would always cherish the bilateral relationship that had existed for over half a century.
On behalf of the government, President Bio warmly welcomed the 24th Chinese Medical Team and expressed hope that the current batch of medical professionals, which also included the 7th Chinese Military Expert Medical Group and the 8th China CDC Biosafety Lab Expert, would take back to China pleasant memories of a beautiful country and its good people.
He concluded by congratulating the government and people of China for half a century of medical charity to Sierra Leone.
Earlier Ambassador Wang, who led the Chinese delegation, observed that 2023 was a special year for China-Sierra Leone medical and health cooperation, celebrating the 50th anniversary of China dispatching medical teams to Sierra Leone.
He reminded the gathering that the 50-year relationship between the two countries had improved the country’s public health systems with the construction of health facilities, training of health workers and supply of medical equipment, among others.