by Alusine Sesay
FREETOWN, Sept. 19 (Xinhua) -- The Chinese naval hospital ship Peace Ark on Tuesday arrived at the shores of Sierra Leone, with a mission to deliver free medical services to 2,000 people within eight days till September 26.
At the ceremony held in the conference room of the ship which arrived at Freetown on Tuesday morning, Task Group Commander Guan Bailin reflected on the importance of the diplomatic relations between China and Sierra Leone, stating that their mission to offer free medical service to Sierra Leone is geared towards enhancing the cooperation between the two countries.
He disclosed that Peace Ark was commissioned in 2008 and has traversed 31 countries, providing free medical services where they arrived, adding that "this is the first time the ship has visited West Africa."
The naval commander recounted the contributions of China to the development of Sierra Leone and the cooperation between the two countries since the establishment of diplomatic relationship in 1971, reiterating the medical assistance China provided to Sierra Leone during the Ebola crisis in 2014, among others.
Sierra Leone's Vice President Victor Bockarie Foh welcomed the team. "China has made its presence in Sierra Leone in terms of development. We are grateful for all the contributions China has made to Sierra Leone since we established diplomatic relationship in 1971," he said.
"We have made to climb the ladder with the help of China in a win-win situation. The contribution of China in the (medical) sector is so profound and we are very much grateful for that. I believe your medicine would help the people," Victor Bockarie Foh added.
The ceremony was climaxed with a tour of the facility by the Vice President, the Chinese Ambassador to Sierra Leone Wu Peng, the media and other dignitaries from various institutions.