Sierra Leone’s health sector is faced with so many challenges including lack of essential medical equipment for doctors to conduct proper checks on patients, a situation largely responsible for premature deaths in the country.

Dr. Desmond Olu Black who is one of the two qualified cardiologists in Sierra Leone, now a veteran specialist, has endured such a challenge since his return from Europe about 30 years ago to come and serve his country.

“When I returned from Europe about 30 years ago as a young cardiologist, I was amazed at the high prevalence of heart diseases in the country and my first case was a five-year-old girl who unfortunately did not survive because of the required equipment were unavailable,” Dr. Black recounted.

Within the last 10 years, Dr. Black has diagnosed six children with heart disease without any ultrasound scanning equipment, before they travel to Europe for open heart surgery thanks to Pikin Bizness – a local charity organization targeting helpless children in the country.

To make diagnosis work less trouble for Dr. Black and his colleagues, Pikin Bizness has donated the first portable cardio-sonogram machine in Sierra Leone for diagnosing children with heart disease at a ceremony at the Transnational Limited Office in Freetown. According to one of the founders of the local charity, Dr. Adonis Abboud, the $25,000 machine is a gift to Sierra Leone from ‘a good Samaritan’ in the person of Michael Landau – a New York-based businessman whose Diamond Group and 5th C Foundation plan to introduce an innovative process for increasing public revenues from gems and improve the social impact of diamonds in Sierra Leone.

Dr. Abboud said he has collaborated over the last decade with media specialist and Financial Times representative, David Applefield, in Paris to help children from Sierra Leone to get emergency open-heart surgery in France.  He said it has been very difficult for cardiologist Dr. Black to diagnose children with heart diseases without any ultrasound scanning equipment.

“We have been in this for over ten years now, helping children with heart disease to get treatment out of the country and Dr. Black has been very exceptional with his clinical experience in diagnosing these cases without any ultrasound equipment to the surprise of his colleagues in Europe for his accuracy,” Dr. Abboud said.


He said the machine is not only precious because of its cost but also because it will help to save more lives and make work easier for Dr. Black ‘who has been so helpful working pro-bono’.

Formally handing over the equipment to Dr. Black, the Deputy Minister of Health and Sanitation 2, Foday Sawi Lahai, described the gesture as patriotic and said it will help save the lives of many children and bring smiles and hope to their families just like those who were diagnosed earlier and treated.

He thanked Dr. Adonis Abboud and his partners, describing their intervention and support to the country’s health sector as something worth emulating.

“Our health sector is still faced with challenges as a developing country but with such kind gesture that complements government efforts in addressing these challenges we are very grateful and hope you will continue with your philanthropic work Dr. Abboud,” Sawi said.

On his part, Dr. Black, who is now the custodian of the medical equipment, said the availability of the ultrasound machine is a defining moment in their efforts to help save the lives of over a thousand kids across the country who are suffering from heart diseases. He registered his appreciation of Dr. Adonis Abboud, Pikin Bizness, and other partners for their relentless efforts in securing the medical equipment which he said will take the level of cardiac treatment to another dimension in the country.

“I am really the happiest man today,” said Dr. Black. “This is a defining moment, a moment we all have been waiting for years ago and am sure this will go a long way in making the work easier for me and my colleagues out of Sierra Leone.”

The veteran cardiologist assured that he will continue to provide his service for free to all children in Sierra Leone and as the custodian of the machine he will continue to work with the local charity Pikin Bizness to help save more lives.