𝐅𝐢𝐫𝐬𝐭 𝐋𝐚𝐝𝐲 𝐒𝐢𝐠𝐧𝐬 𝐀𝐠𝐫𝐞𝐞𝐦𝐞𝐧𝐭 𝐟𝐨𝐫 𝐀𝐦𝐞𝐫𝐢𝐜𝐚𝐧 𝐔𝐧𝐢𝐯𝐞𝐫𝐬𝐢𝐭𝐲 𝐂𝐨𝐧𝐬𝐭𝐫𝐮𝐜𝐭𝐢𝐨𝐧
His Excellency the President of the Republic of Sierra Leone Dr. Julius Maada Bio and First Lady Dr. Fatima Maada Bio have turned the sod for the construction of a multi-million dollar ultra-modern 34 Military Hospital-American International University that will house about 4000 students at a go.
The ceremony took place on Monday 15th May 2023 at the forecourt of 34 Military Hospital in Freetown.
In her address, the First Lady of Sierra Leone Dr. Fatima Maada Bio expressed her thanks and appreciation to the President for giving her the free will and opportunity to complement his work and also thank the leadership of the 34 Military Hospital for believing in her and allowing her to undertake constructions work within the hospital.
She confessed that she first learned about the American International University when she received a letter from the university about a humanitarian award they wanted to offer her.
After adequately researching about the university, “I realized that they are credible, I engaged the leadership of the university and demanded that they come to Sierra Leone and construct their facility that will help change the face of our country’s medical field” she said.
She noted that after several negotiations and consultations, she was able to convince the leadership of the university to construct the Sierra Leone branch here in 34 Military Hospital.
Her Excellency the First Lady signed an agreement with the Representative of the American International University, and the Minister of Defence for the construction and operationalization of the university in Sierra Leone.
In his address, President Bio noted that the project combines two important components of his Human Capital Development Programme– Healthcare and Education. It is indisputable that healthcare and education are the pillars of a progressive society and a pathway for elevating poor and marginalized populations to a thriving and sustainable future.
He revealed that the turning-of-the-sod ceremony will mark the construction of a world-class campus which will include a teaching and training facility, state of the art audio visual classrooms, and laboratories incorporating new technologies for training, a 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,” he said.
He admitted that “in the last five years despite the twin global economic crises of Covid19 pandemic and the Ukraine-Russian war, his Government has increased the annual budgetary allocation to healthcare from 6% in 2018 to 11.6% in 2021; constructed or rehabilitated 200 more health facilities nationwide; supported the specialists training of doctors in-country; trained almost 1,500 midwives; reduced infant and maternal mortality rates below the West African average; reduced stunting rates among children under five below the African average and increased children’s immunization rates among the highest in Africa. Despite these remarkable achievements in five short years, we are still determined to do more” he said.
The Minister of Higher and Technical Education, the Representative from the American International University, the Minister of Defense, and the Minister of Health were among the speakers who praised the First Lady for her commitment to serving the public.
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.
Strategic Communications Division
Office of The First Lady.