SLCAA, IOM Launch COVID-19 Entry Point Preparedness and Resilience Project

25th March, 2021

SLCAA Office, Lungi

Sierra Leone Civil Aviation Authority (SLCAA) and International Organization for Migration (IOM) have yesterday launched the project entitled: “Strengthen Health System Capacity, Preparedness, and Resilience in COVID-19 Points of Entry with Sierra Leone Diaspora.”

The Preparedness and Resilience Project for Points of Entry (PoEs) is funded by the Japanese Government through its Embassy in West Africa.

The project’s objective is to strengthen the capacity to prevent, detect, notify and respond to the risk of COVID-19 and other infectious disease outbreaks in selected Point of Entries (PoEs) and surrounding areas.

The Chairman of the project launch, Patrick Jaia Kaikai, who also doubles as the Chairman of the Board of Directors of SLCAA, in his remarks, expressed that the project launch was a manifestation of the call from HE President Julius Maada Bio on collaboration.  

“Today, we are seeing a real example of collaboration and teamwork between agencies. This is a collaborative effort between the Sierra Leone Civil Aviation Authority (the regulator) and the Sierra Leone Airport Authority (the operator),” he said.

In his welcome statement, the General Manager of the Sierra Leone Airports Authority (SLAA), Jack Massaquoi said the project launch was a true meaning of working together to achieve a common objective in the Aviation Industry in Sierra Leone, stating further that the full implementation would open doors for more support from the people of Japan to the people of Sierra Leone.

IOM Project Manager, Kunikazu Akao revealed that since the confirmation of the first case of COVID-19 in Sierra Leone, IOM has actively supported the Government of Sierra Leone especially COVID-19 prevention at Points of Entry, conducting risk communication and community engagement as well as the provision of personal protective equipment to COVID-19 frontline workers and responders.

“To intensify COVID-19 response at PoEs, IOM in March 2021 started a one-year project with funding from the government of Japan. The project will strengthen capacities for COVID-19 prevention and response at main prioritized PoEs and surrounding health facilities”, he ended.

SLCAA Corporate Planning and Research Officer, Sahr Emmanuel Joseph said that the Grant Assistance for Grassroots Human Security Projects (GGHSP) intended to provide social and economic development at the grass-roots level. “SLCAA being eligible under the COVID-19 framework (specifically on Primary Health Care Facilities and Medical Equipment) applied for support toward building the capacity of the Airport safety oversight on the Airport Health Infrastructure as was stated in the Airport Council International (ACI) Airport Excellence APEX Safety report 2019”, he noted.

Through the GGHSP grant framework, he said, SLCAA has been awarded grant support from the Japan Embassy for the provision of an Ambulance, a thermo camera, five wheelchairs, handheld thermometers and sets of face masks, hand sanitizers and other protective gears totaling $53,645.

The Japanese Ambassador to Sierra Leone, HE Tsutomo Himeno, in his statement, said the reason they were keen on supporting the project hinged on the friendship between the people of Japan and the people of Sierra Leone, adding that the project came as a result of HE Julius Maada Bio’s visit to Japan two years ago, during which he had meaningful discussions with the Japanese Prime Minister regarding development.

“Although we are far away, we have a very good relationship with the Republic of Sierra Leone, and that good relationship is built upon the bilateral engagement between the two countries”.

Dr Amara Jambai, Deputy Minister of Health II also expressed his profound thanks and appreciation to the people of Japan through the Japanese Embassy for this great support to the people of Sierra Leone.

Representing the Hon. Minister of Transport and Aviation, the SLCAA Director-General, Moses Tiffa Baio, in his keynote address, officially welcomed HE Tsutomo Himeno to the Freetown International Airport. On behalf of the Hon. Minister of Transport and Aviation, he extended his sincere thanks and appreciation to HE Tsutomo Himeno, the people of Japan for supporting this project and also the IOM team for their continued support to the Aviation Industry in Sierra Leone.

“The signing of these two projects to support growth of the Aviation Industry in Sierra Leone marks a significant milestone in the history of Aviation in Sierra Leone. Given the background of the project, you are intervening to address a peculiar problem that has been associated with the Freetown International Airport for a long and we believe that this intervention will take us to another level,” DG Baio said.

He ended by stating that the event marked a greater milestone in the newfound relationship, especially in fostering technical cooperation between the Japanese Embassy and the Ministry of Transport and Aviation.

©️SLCAA Communications