The United States Ambassador to Sierra Leone, David Reimer has engaged newsmen on the U.S. recent activities in Sierra Leone.

The roundtable engagement took place on Wednesday, August 31s t at the Embassy’s press conference room in Freetown.

Speaking during the meeting, Ambassador Reimer expressed happiness over the return of 17 Peace Corps Volunteers to Sierra Leone, adding that after completing their 10-weeks pre-service training, the 17 volunteers will be officially sworn-in on Friday, September 9 at the Peace Corps training facility in Kambia.

“Five of the volunteers will serve alongside community health workers, focusing on child and maternal health. They will work with women and caregivers to promote healthy pregnancies, safe deliveries, and healthy children,” Ambassador Reimer said, adding that the five volunteers will also be working with community health workers to improve their skills to deliver health education, and will be working with youth to increase their knowledge to improve their health and well-being.

Ambassador Reimer said in addition to the five volunteers working on the community health, there are 12 additional volunteers who will be working with local communities on primary and secondary education programs.

In the area of electricity supply to support the health sector, the US Ambassador said they have established the Health Grid Sierra Leone; a project, he said that has literally turned on the lights in rural health communities across Sierra Leone.

He opined that access to stable, reliable electricity is key for health care providers to treat people, maintaining that electricity shouldn’t be a privilege just for health care clinics in major cities.

“That is why I am proud to highlight that this year, we expect to finish installation on the first of what will be 31 clean energy facilities for rural health clinics. This is part of the Health Grid Project, a project designed to improve access to electricity in health facilities,” Ambassador Reimer said.

The Ambassador informed newsmen that Health Grid is collaboration between the U.S government through USAID, which he described as the non-profits RESOLVE, World Vision, and private sector partner Orange Sierra Leone, together with the Sierra Leone’s Ministry of Health and Sanitation.

“The project will total almost $2million, of which around 40% is funded through USAID and it will include a sustainability fund of about $100,000 which will enable long term maintenance and oversight of the facilities”.

He said the project will also install sustainable solar energy system for 31 remote, off-grid, healthcare facilities in Sierra Leone, install and maintain internet connectivity equipment at each health care facility, among several others.

“Healthgrid is seeking more efficient, effective and sustainable healthcare systems that are better equipped to save lives. The public sector cannot do it all, so we are happy to be partnering with both private and public sector partners to improve health outcomes for Sierra Leone”.

The Ambassador also said they are also in partnership with the Government of Sierra Leone training for public health officials and clinical practitioners which continues going strong.

“On Monday, 29th August we celebrated the graduation of 35 students of the U.S Centres for Disease Control (CDC), Field Epidemiology Training Program (FETP) which began in 2016. The impact that trainees of this program have on health in Sierra Leone speaks for itself. Graduates of this program lead investigations on outbreaks of disease Laser Fever, Monkey pox, Ebola, Covid-19 and Polio among others”.

The Ambassador said the FETP is just one example of how the United States is partnering with Sierra Leone on training on public health officials and clinical practitioners