17:39 GMT21 June 2021
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    MOSCOW (Sputnik), Ekaterina Chukaeva - Sierra Leone has notified the Russian authorities of its interest in purchasing doses of the Sputnik V vaccine and counts on Moscow's favourable response, Sierra Leonean Ambassador to Russia Mohamed Yongawo told Sputnik.

    Sputnik V is one of four Russian vaccines against COVID-19. Developed by the Gamaleya Institute, it has been approved to date in 67 countries, including over a dozen African countries.

    "We have approached Russia for the Sputnik V vaccine. I have taken it myself. And we are waiting for Russia to respond. But I believe that Russia will respond favorably to us... We want it, we want Sputnik V, but we are still waiting for Russia to respond", Yongawo said at an informal summit of African ambassadors in the Kremlin on Friday.

    He added that Sierra Leone is eager to cooperate more broadly with Russia on health care, recalling the Russian assistance during the Ebola outbreak in the African country from 2013-2016.

    "In the area of health Russia has trained a lot of doctors in Sierra Leone. But we still need health infrastructure and Russia can do a lot of help about that. During Ebola, Russia helped Sierra Leone. During the recent coronavirus, Russia has been very helpful to Sierra Leone. But we need the infrastructure, we need the hospitals. If Russia can collaborate in that area - to build cutting edge hospitals - that would be very good", the ambassador said.

    The Ebola virus infected 28,000 people and killed 11,000 during the latest outbreak in Africa. Russia sent medical experts, drugs and field hospitals to Sierra Leone and other African countries struggling with the deadly infection.

    Apart from the health sector, Sierra Leone would like Russia's cooperation on energy, with regard to both its generation and distribution, according to the ambassador.

    "These are the areas that we think Russia has the expertise in and can help Sierra Leone", he said.

    In May, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said that Russia and Sierra Leone agreed to resume the work of a joint energy group as soon as the pandemic permits, preferably this year. The group was set up following the visit of Sierra Leonean President Julius Maada Bio to the inaugural Russia-Africa summit in Sochi in October 2019.

    Tags:
    Sputnik V, Sierra Leone, Russia
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