Britain's development minister praises progress in S.Leone

22nd July 2011, Comments 0 comments

Britain's Minister for International Development Stephen O'Brian said Friday enormous progress was being made in Sierra Leone regarding health and sanitation and stamping out corruption.

The minister on Friday wrapped up a four-day visit to see how British aid was impacting on the country.

O'Brian visited a water and sanitation project in the west of the city and also looked into progress made with Sierra Leone's free healthcare initiative for women and young children.

"Every Friday when I am back at home, my constituents are saying to me, okay, while we are giving a lot of this money where are the results, what are we achieving. And that's why I am here to see for myself exactly what we are achieving," O'Brian said.

"I would certainly report back that on water and sanitation that there are really results," he added.

Commenting on the country's free healthcare initiative, he said "enormous progress has been made since my last visit".

"The first year of the initiative has seen a doubling of consultations for under-fives (children) and 40,000 women delivering safely in health facilities.

"Sierra Leone is a country with massive potential and I am pleased to see how innovative approaches like the free health care initiative are demonstrating real results in improving people's lives."

The minister said he was "heartened and encouraged" by a determination to stamp out corruption in the west African country.

Britain is one of Sierra Leone's leading donors assisting in water and sanitation projects, police training programmes as well as providing financial assistance in support of the economy which remains donor-driven a decade after the end of the 1991-2001 civil war.

© 2011 AFP

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