His Excellency President Dr Julius Maada Bio has commissioned the start of work of the American International University at the 34 Military Hospital, saying that the turning-of-the-sod ceremony will mark the construction of a world-class campus.
It will include a teaching and training facility, state-of-the-art audio-visual classrooms, and laboratories incorporating new technologies for training, library and other student services.
“I have been informed that as an international institution, the American International University is committed to providing a rigorous educational experience that prepares students to be global citizens who can engage effectively with diverse cultures and perspectives. No doubt, the importance of a global perspective in today’s interconnected world and preparing students to be global citizens to engage in diverse cultures is of great importance.
“Therefore, I am pleased to note that so far there has been productive engagement among the American International University, the University of Sierra Leone and the Ministry of Technical and Higher Education. You all have a collective responsibility to ensure we maintain the highest standard in teaching professional courses.
“I am also optimistic about the potential partnership between the 34 Military Hospital and the American International University. Over the years, the 34 Military Hospital has been a premier tertiary hospital which has served as a referral for thousands of citizens and the focal medical facility to address national health emergencies as demonstrated during the Ebola outbreak and COVID-19 pandemics,” he said.
The commanding officer of the Joint Medical Unit, Col. Dr Stephen Sevallie, said the event would eventually mark a definite transition of the 34 Military Hospital to a teaching hospital, adding that it would be a premier facility in the subregion.
He also thanked the President for such opportunities to particularly build a medical college, noting that he was disposed to ensure that the vision was well delivered.
Minister of Health and Sanitation, Dr Austin Demby, described President Bio as a leader who had inspired people to work for the country, adding that his style of leadership had brought development to the country.
“Through the good leadership of President Bio, two weeks ago the World Health Organization sent a team to the country to learn from the country’s progress made in the health sector and they also commended the great efforts made by the government,” he stated.
He ended by noting that the country had made significant progress in healthcare delivery and had been ranked better than Guinea and Liberia, its two immediate neighbours.
Minister of Higher Education, Professor Alpha Tejan Wurie, said for the past 18 months his ministry had had discussions with the American International University in The Gambia, noting that through the efforts of the First Lady, Madam Fatima Bio, all plans for the project had been successful.
“The curriculum for this university is not an American one but one that has been approved by the Medical School of Sierra Leone,” he noted.
A representative from the American International University, Dr Dennis Shukla, said it was a privilege for them to have the American International University in Africa, particularly in Sierra Leone.
“You are the architect for this modern Sierra Leone,” he told President Bio, adding that he was a leader with an admirable passion for education. He also commended the First Lady for her zest in ensuring that the project was started and ended by assuring of quality construction of the building.
In her statement, First Lady Fatima Bio said the 34 Military Hospital was chosen for the construction of the university because of its untiring service to humanity. She thanked the country’s Chief of Defense Staff, Lieutenant General Peter K. Lavahun, and personnel of the Republic of Sierra Leone Armed Forces for their support of the project.
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of The Republic of Sierra Leone State House.