The Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development (KFAED), commonly known as the Kuwait Fund, is the State of Kuwait’s agency for the provision and administration of financial and technical assistance to developing countries. It would be recalled that, in 2011 Sierra Leone became the beneficiary of a highly concessional loan from the Kuwait Fund to strengthen Connaught, Princess Christian, and Ola During Hospitals.
However a combination of factors, mostly natural and beyond the control of the country conspired to threaten the successful implementation of the project. The Minister of Health and Sanitation and the Minister of Finance and Economic Development, accompanied by senior officials of their respective miniseries took advantage of the ongoing Annual General Meeting of the African Development Bank, in Abidjan, Ivory Coast – where they have converged to lend moral support to Dr. Samura Kamara’s candidacy for the Presidency of the prestigious Organization – to also lobby the Kuwait fund.
In making the case for the change in scope and location of the proposed hospitals from the originally planned sites to new locations, the Health and Sanitation Minister informed the Kuwaiti delegation that firstly, Connaught, Princess Christian and Ola During Hospitals do not have the physical space for any further expansion without causing considerable disruption of the already limited clinical services going on at these facilities. Secondly the proposed sites in these hospitals will be prone to erosion in the long run by virtue of their proximity to the banks of the sea.
Thirdly, the three hospitals have become increasingly difficult to access by the vast majority of the population by virtue of their location in the central business district. Fourthly, the catchment populations in most of the areas in the city where these satellite hospitals were located have long outstripped the capacity of these facilities. The Minister went on to argue that original designs did not take into account the need for facilities to have triages for Infection, prevention, and Control as neither the engineers nor the Health Ministry foresaw an outbreak of the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD).
The Health and Sanitation Minister further informed the Kuwaitis of His Excellency, President Koroma ‘s visit to the sites and his stern instructions to him (the Minister) that any future rebuilding of the health system must be informed by the lessons that we have learned from the EVD. In the light of the above challenges, and considering the advice from His Excellency, the President of Sierra Leone, the Minister convinced the Kuwait Fund representatives of the view of the government and people of Sierra Leone that ample scope exist to change and location of the project.