On Thursday, May 16, 2024, the Parliamentary Oversight Committee on Planning and Economic Development, chaired by Hon. Peter Yamba Koroma, visited the construction site of the Maternal Center of Excellence (MCOE) in Koidu City, Kono District.

This state-of-the-art maternal hospital is being developed through a partnership between the non-governmental organization Partners in Health (PiH) and the Government of Sierra Leone, with an initial investment of $28 million.

The MCOE will feature 166 beds and serve as a comprehensive healthcare facility for women and children, as well as a training center for future healthcare professionals. Build Health International, hired by PiH, is overseeing the construction and employs a model that trains unskilled local workers in various trades, including plumbing, welding, and electrical work.

During the visit, the Mayor of Koidu City, Komba M. Sam, welcomed the committee members and expressed his appreciation for their oversight role. He emphasized the transformative impact the hospital will have on healthcare accessibility in Kono once completed.

Hon. Peter Yamba Koroma outlined the committee’s mandate to ensure that government and donor funds are used effectively to achieve sustainable development goals, such as job creation and poverty reduction. He also highlighted the committee’s role in aligning the work of NGOs and government entities with Sierra Leone’s Medium Term National Development Plan.

Host Member of Parliament Hon. Musa Fofana praised the collaboration between PiH and the local community. He noted that the project, upon completion, would significantly enhance the region’s healthcare infrastructure and potentially serve as a medical hub in West Africa.

Carlos Velazquez, the Program Manager for the project, provided an overview of the hospital’s features and progress. The facility will include piped oxygen, a garden, and a 550 kVA transformer. The Birthing Center, South Ward, and North Ward are nearing completion. The hospital is expected to provide inpatient services to over 5,000 patients annually and create more than 400 jobs, including positions for medical and support staff.

The committee’s site tour confirmed the high standards of construction and equipment installation. They also visited Baroma Community, where an advanced medical store is under construction. The committee assured PiH of their support in addressing challenges, such as ensuring the hospital’s connection to the main electricity grid.

Overall, the Parliamentary Oversight Committee commended the project as a pioneering effort in Sierra Leone’s healthcare development.