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RUSAL donates 25 tones of medical supplies to fight cholera

The World’s largest aluminum producer, RUSAL on Thursday adhered to the national emergency call of President Dr Ernest Bai Koroma by donating 25 tonnes of medical supplies to control cholera outbreak which has killed over 260 people with over 18,000 reported cases.
The donated items include drugs, disinfectants, chlorine, protection gears among others.
Since cholera was declared a national emergency and public health, many organizations and institutions have joined the fight, but according to Health Ministry officials, this RUSAL donation is by far the largest.
The handing-over ceremony held at the Ministry of Health and Sanitation conference room, attracted a delegation from RUSAL from Guinea led by the Consul of the Russian Federation to Sierra Leone and Guinea, Mr. Ivan Mastakov, senior health officials and Government Ministers .
In his opening address, Acting Chief Medical Officer, Dr Alhassan Seisay, while welcoming the team from Guinea, said that the Government has come a long way since the national emergency was annonounced.
He added that a series of actions have been put in place to address that emergency to tackle the cholera epidemic. “This week, the trend of the outbreak has reduced and there are few reported cases of cholera. We have a very low case fatality rate”, he said.
Dr Seisay thanked RUSAL for their kind gesture; and said that the donated items are needed for them to address cholera, assuring that the items will be used for it’s intended purpose.
In his statement, the Russian Consul, Ivan Mastakov said that the Russian Federation has had a long-standing relationship with Sierra Leone.
He added that since the emergency was declared, the RUSAL and the Russian Federation decided to respond to the call, by making this donation.
A Presidential Task Force on Cholera Member, Moses Kumba said that the cholera outbreak is close to the heart of President Koroma.
He thanked the delegation and assured that in the next Task Force meeting what has been donated will be discussed.
RUSAL Head of Delegation, Mr Pavel Vassiliev said that the donation is part of their corporate social responsibility and this same gesture was done in Guinea. He said that although they are operating in Guinea, they extended their hands to Sierra Leone.
Mr Vassiliev stated that as a company they have a series of businesses in Africa and operates in 19 countries all over the World, adding that the aim of their trip to Sierra Leone is to give humanitarian relief.
“We are here to make a donation to Sierra Leone, our brotherly country”. He also hoped that this will begin a friendly relationship with Sierra Leone. And maybe Sierra Leone will become the 20th country of operations in the future. The company will always try to help whenever necessary.
Receiving the items, Acting Minister of Health, Tamba Borbor- Sawyer said that it was a landmark development to receive such humanitarian gesture from RUSAL.
On the donation, he said that there are cholera outbreaks in the sub-region and other countries, but Sierra Leone is receiving more attention. Hon. Borbor-Sawyer said that they are very appreciative of the gesture and referred to the adage that ‘a friend in need is a friend indeed. He stated that this is one of the biggest support they have received.
Commenting on the cargo delivery, Sierra Leone Ambassador to the Russian Federation Mr. John Sahr Yambasu thanked Rusal for the kind gesture that the company had demonstrated in helping to address this epidemic in Sierra Leone and expressed his hope for the continuing of the co-operation.
According to UNICEF, more than 14,200 cholera cases were registered in Sierra Leone since the beginning of 2012, which nearly twice exceeds the World Health Organisation’s epidemic threshold. Since September, the country introduced a public emergency warning regarding the epidemic. The upward trend in the cases of the disease registered in August was caused by the peak of the rain season.
“RUSAL has already operated in Africa for 10 years and for all of this time health programmes and medical supplies for local communities were among the top priorities of our social activities in the region. We see the situation in Sierra Leone as critical and hope that our contribution will help the Government to fight this terrible epidemic,” said Yakov Itskov, UC RUSAL Director of International Alumina Division.
By Abibatu Kamara

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