By Alhaji M.B. Jalloh, Press Attaché, Saudi Arabia
The Saudi Arabia based Islamic Development Bank (IDB) last week approved USD $300,000.00 (Three Hundred Thousand United States Dollars) as Technical Assistance for the fight against the Ebola Hemorrhagic Fever in Sierra Leone.
The Technical Assistance came a few weeks after an appeal was made by Sierra Leone’s Ambassador to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Alhaji M.S Kargbo on behalf of the Government of Sierra Leone concerning the control of the Ebola Viral Disease (EVD) which continues to ravage the country.
Making the disclosure at the IDB’s Principal Office in Jeddah, in a brief, but colourful ceremony, the President of the Bank, Dr. Ahmad Mohamed Ali said the US$300,000 Technical Assistance Grant will help in the area of medical equipment and assistance to health workers risking their lives in the fight against the deadly epidemic.
The IDB President also said that the assistance is to contribute to the efforts of the Government of Sierra Leone and the International Community for controlling the EVD outbreak in West Africa. The assistance, the soft-spoken President added, is aimed at reducing morbidity and mortality secondary to EVD in Sierra Leone by supporting case diagnosis under the “Accelerated Ebola Outbreak Response Plan.”
Dr. Ali also commended the courage of His Excellency the President, Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma and the Government of Sierra Leone in adopting a number of extra-ordinary measures to contain the spread of the disease such as declaring a state of public health emergency throughout the country, including the restriction of movements of people and the quarantining of confirmed Ebola cases. Under section 3.2 of the Technical Agreement, a single Disbursement of the totality of the Grant Amount will be made to the account of the World Health Organization (WHO), Sierra Leone .
Assenting to the approval of the Technical Assistance, the Sierra Leone Ambassador to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia on behalf of His Excellency the President, Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma, the Government and people of Sierra Leone thanked the President and his team for their timely intervention and said the Technical Assistance will go a long way to help fight the epidemic, while he assured that the grant will be used for its intended purpose. The Ambassador commended the IDB for always coming to the aid of Sierra Leone in times of need.
He also informed the President and other high-profile IDB officials on the current state of the epidemic and interventions made by his Government, citizens and friends of Sierra Leone, including other bilateral and multilateral partners to eradicate the scourge in the country. He furthered that the IDB, under the wise leadership of its President, Dr. Ahmad Mohammed Ali, has invariably maintained the core purposes of its establishment in various domains whenever calamities of whatever nature befall its member countries. He said the President and the people of Sierra Leone would be particularly grateful to the IDB, as this aid has come at the nation’s most trying times.
Commenting on Ambassador M. S. Kargbo’s cordial statement, the President of IDB reiterated his trust in the wisdom of the leadership of His Excellency, Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma, who, he believes, will do all that is within his reach to bring about a definitive solution that would ensure the total eradication of the deadly Ebola disease so that his nation would live a life of normalcy once again. He added that Sierra Leone has proven over the years that it is a valued member of the IDB, and he said he wishes the people of Sierra Leone to soon have their country free of Ebola and to be more prosperous thereafter.
The occasion was climaxed by the signing of the document for the Technical Grant by the President of the IDB who signed on behalf of the IDB and the Ambassador signed on behalf of the Government of Sierra Leone. Headquartered in Saudi Arabia’s second largest city of Jeddah, the IDB was formally opened in 1975. The present membership of the Bank consists of 56 countries. Sierra Leone became member in 1982. Since then, the Bank has funded a good number of projects in Sierra Leone.