By Alfred Fornah

The Minister of Political and Public Affairs, Hon Foday Yumkella on Wednesday 20th June 2018 had a meeting with the Director, Office of Diaspora Affairs ( ODA) and also with some officials of the International Organization for Migration ( IOM) at his Youyi Building Office in Freetown.

The purpose of the meeting was to discuss issues regarding the Migration and Development for Africa ( MIDA) Project.

Briefing the Minister and his Deputy about the project, the Director of Diaspora Affairs, Dr Kallay Musa Conteh said the MIDA project is funded by the Japanese Government and implemented by the International Organization For Migration , Office of Diaspora Affairs and the Ministry of Health . He added that the project aimed at building a bridge between available resources of the Sierra Leonean diaspora ,needs and opportunities in Sierra Leone. ” Together with IOM and the Ministry of Health we have rolled out a pilot phase of this project in Koinadugu District; with a motive to strengthen the Health Care System through the deployment of experienced diaspora health care workers in that part of the country” Dr Conteh noted.

Akao Kunikazu, IOM Project Manager in charge of the MIDA Project said with the support they received from the Japanese Government they were able to recruit diaspora Medics who delivered free medical services in areas such as Internal Medicine , Dental and Mental Health, and also performed extremely well in handling Gynecological and pediatric cases in Koinadugu District.

He informed that they have started a second phase of the project in Kailahun District. ” the new project seek to address issues on Health, Agriculture Disaster prevention and intervention”

He added that the project will also provide E- Learning platform for Diaspora medical experts who are residing overseas to transfer knowledge to students at the College of Medicine and Allied Health Sciences in Sierra Leone.
He also said in September this year they will organize a Diaspora Agribusiness Workshop; encouraging diasporans to invest in Agriculture among other sectors.

In his response, the Minister of Political and Public Affairs, Hon. Foday Yumkella commended IOM, ODA and their partners for the project. This kind of program , he said demonstrated Diaspora contribution to the development of the country. He called on ODA and IOM to consider incorporating other sectors in implementing such a laudable project.

©Alfred Fornah
Communications Officer ODA