From Awareness Times Newspaper in Freetown

Local News
Ex Irish President Visits Sierra Leone
By Aruna Turay
Jul 29, 2010, 17:22

The former President of Ireland, Her Excellency Mary Robinson who now serves as the President of an organization known as ĎRealizing Rights,í based in Ireland is in Sierra Leone on an assessment visit to our health facilities, and to support Sierra Leoneís leadership and commitment to the ongoing implementation of the Free Health Care considered globally as a human rights issue.

On Wednesday 28th July 2010, she joined top Health Ministry officials and the wife of Vice President Samuel Sam Sumana, Mrs. Kadia Sam Sumana on a conducted tour to various health facilities including the Grey Bush Community Clinic and the Princess Christian Maternity Hospital (PCMH) in Freetown to make first hand assessment of the facilities provided for the free health care service launched last April by the president.

At the PCMH in the east end of Freetown, the former Irish president was led by officials to various wards including those for children, pregnant and lactating mothers and got their views as to the effectiveness of the project. This was followed by a press briefing where she told newsmen that with the launch of its Free Health Care Initiative, Sierra Leone has taken a major step forward in promoting maternal health as a human rights issue not only for Sierra Leone but globally. She went on that in less than three months since the launch; the initiative has registered impressive increases in the number of women and children receiving services as well as improvements in the quality of maternity wards and other health facilities throughout the country.

The world renowned Former President of Ireland is currently in Sierra Leone to support the Free Health Care initiative of the Ernest Koroma Government

On behalf of the Government of Sierra Leone, the wife of the Vice President Mrs. Kadia Sam Sumana thanked the Ex-President for visiting Sierra Leone. She said Government is totally impressed with the performances of Doctors and Nurses running the free healthcare service in Sierra Leone. Mrs. Sam Sumana called on Hon. Robinson to ensure more visit to Sierra Leone and further continue to solicit support for the people of this country.


One of the sponsors of the Hon. Mary Robinson's visit to Sierra Leone is the Ministerial Leadership Initiative for Global Health (MLI), a program of Realizing Rights. It was disclosed during the briefing that the MLIís experience in the last two years in Sierra Leone has shown that support for country-led and country-driven initiatives can result in breakthroughs in key health care areas, such as primary care for mothers and children. The MLI also found that as the Government implements maternal health programs and policies, one important aspect is to place a focus on human rights, which helps break down the systemic barriers, such as lack of access to quality hearth services, child marriage, women's rights within the household and nation, protection against violence, access to education, access to earning opportunities, and access to family planning to maternal health.

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