Discours de Lydia Mutsch à l'occasion de la cérémonie d'ouverture officielle du Consulat du Sierra Leone au Grand-Duché de Luxembourg

Discours – Publié le

"Dear Minister of State,

Dear Excellencies,

Dear Mrs Nati,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is a great pleasure and honour for me to attend this official opening of the Consulate of the Republic of Sierra Leone to the Grand-Duchy of Luxembourg.
 
This evening I am here not only on behalf of our Gouvernement, but also on a personal basis in order to congratulate Mrs. Marianne Nati - a person I very much appreciate - for her nomination as Consul-General of Sierra Leone in Luxembourg.
 
I believe that I don’t need to present Mrs Nati to you. Her reputation no longer needs to be made. I am confident that, given the multi-faceted competences and experiences she acquired in her past occupations, she will exercise her new and honorable duties in the best possible interest for Sierra Leone.
 
The name Sierra Leone is for many of us linked to one of the biggest sanitary crises of the last decades: Ebola.
 
As a minister of Health, I was very much confronted with this epidemic over the last two years. So please allow me to speak here today also from a health point of view.
 
Today, Sierra Leone is declared free of the deadly Ebola virus that has killed thousands since it flared up on the continent.

But when Ebola broke out in 2014 and 2015 it’s repercussions changed our perception and understanding of global health security for ever.
 
Ebola has shown us that it is important to show greater solidarity. Solidarity towards the affected countries, but also between Member States of the European Union.
 
Just to give you an example: Luxembourg has organized support for other countries by putting its air-transport capacities for sanitary repatriation of European citizens working in the affected countries.
Thus, a flight organised by the government of Luxembourg in cooperation with Luxembourg Air Rescue (LAR) transported a British national from Sierra Leone to the United Kingdom for assessment and monitoring.
 
Another example for how even a small country as Luxembourg can sustainably help, certainly is the SATMED-Programme, which allows to bring e-health to remote areas.
 
SATMED is a telemedicine project designed to build on existing expertise in the health and innovation sectors with the aim of generating e-health applications in remote areas.
 
SATMED can, however, also be deployed in humanitarian crises, as it was during the Ebola epidemic.
 
The system is funded by the Luxembourg Government and has been conceived by SES, the world-leading satellite fleet owner and operator based in Betzdorf, Luxembourg (and I am pleased to welcome its president Romain Bausch), together with e-Medical Communication, based in Berlin, which specializes in telemedicine.
 
In late 2014, when the Ebola epidemic had reached its peak, a SATMED communication terminal was deployed to the Serabu hospital in Sierra Leone, 52 kilometers from the town of Bo.
The hospital in Serabu provides quality health care for a population of up to 70,000 and became a major sanctuary during the Ebola epidemic.
 
The deployment aimed to set up a permanent communication terminal at the hospital and to provide its personnel with stable and reliable means of communication with the outside world by using satellite capacities made available by SES.
 
Thanks to SATMED, German Doctors was able to create a stable Internet connection with the management of the hospital as well as with the medical staff and the trainers of the maternal care unit.
 
Through regular Skype calls, the NGO was involved in the daily business of the hospital and bottlenecks in the communication lines could be minimized.
 
The international community, just as the European Union, need to learn lessons from the Ebola crisis.
 
To push this important issue forward, the Luxembourg Presidency of the European Union put this important topic high on the political agenda in the second half of 2015.
 
The Ebola epidemic is the most striking illustration of what we all know but what is never stressed enough: health is our most important capital.
  
The cooperation in the field of health is not the only cooperation upon which the strong relationship between Luxembourg and Sierra Leone is based.
 
And I am sure that in the years to come, Marianne Nati will make sure that the interests of Sierra Leone are promoted best and that the links between our countries will be strengthened even further.
 
I thank you for your attention and wish you a very pleasant evening."