From time to time, Liberia and Lebanon have been similarly situated, as if we are meant to bond in good as well as bad times. At present, both countries are confronted with dire economic challenges, and like the rest of the world are also battling the novel COVID-19 pandemic, which at this juncture has infected more than 3.4 million people and fatalities stand at about 250,000 across the globe.
Amidst this pandemic, coupled with the surge in the number of reported cases in Liberia, the Lebanese Community’s leadership in collaboration with the Lebanese Embassy near Monrovia, developed and submitted a COVID-19 Response Plan inclusive if three critical projects to the Lebanese Community for its approval and support. The plan was scrutinized, and with little or no hesitation, it was endorsed and fully funded by members of the Community.
“The Union Clinic” which we have all gathered here today to see its opening and turn over to the Government of Liberia through the Ministry of Health and NPHIL, is the most important project of our COVID-19 Response Plan. Within three weeks, following the approval of the plan by the Community, and considering the urgent need for test/quarantine facilities, we were able to renovate, furnish and equip this facility at a cost of more than US$350,000.00.
After this pandemic, the community will turn this premise to a state-of –the art Clinic that will boost the health service in Liberia.
Other initiatives undertaken as part of the COVID-19 Response Plan include the provision of food, cleaning materials, utility water supplies to the Liberia National Red Cross Society, orphanages and various communities within Montserrado County, medical supplies and equipment as well as building materials to the 14th Military Hospital and restoring the oxygen plant at JFK Hospital. We must extend our heartfelt thanks and appreciation to the Government of Liberia, in particular to H.E. President George Manneh Weah for timely endorsing our idea and approving the Clinic Project.
Additionally, we say thank you Mr. President for allowing us to participate and partner with the Government in its fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. We also extend our sincere thanks to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Health and the National Public Health Institute of Liberia for their guidance and piece of advice thus ensuring this project came to fruition.
We want to thank the Lebanese Ambassador, Mr. Henri Kastoun for believing in and facilitating such worthy initiative at this critical time in the world. Your desire to see all our projects through was very inspiring.
Special thanks to Mr. Rabih Charif and Mr. Ali Mortado for the commitment in restoring this premise as well as furnishing and equipping. Your dedication are laudable.
Lastly, but not the least, we want to say a big thank you to the members of the Lebanese Community in Liberia. In these challenging economic times, your generous contribution ranging from US$50.00 to US$25,000.00 our COVID-19 Response Plan was fully funded by you. We know what you did is your way of showing your love and gratitude, and identifying with Liberia and the Liberian people and their guests during these troubling times.
Let me leave you with these words of the famous philosopher Confucius…..
“Our Greatest Glory Is Not In Never Falling, But In Rising Every Time We Fall.”
World Lebanese Cultural Union of Liberia
In remarks, Lebanese Ambassador, Mr. Henri Kastoun also expressed gratitude to President George Weah and the Government for the existing cordial ties between Lebanon and Liberia and, as well as, the opportunity afforded the Lebanese community to join in the fight against the deadly coronavirus.
Ambassador Kastoun said transforming of Lebanese facility to a clinic is manifestation of the continuous goodwill of the Lebanese people to the people of Liberia.
Receiving the keys to the building, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Gbehzohngar M. Findey expressed appreciation to the Lebanese community for the generous contributions to the fight against the deadly coronavirus.
Minister of Health, Dr. Wilhelmina Jallah thanked the Lebanese community for the clinic and hoped others would emulate the fine example to help combat the disease.
Minister of State for Presidential Affair, Nathaniel McGill, who also proxy for President George Weah expressed gratitude to the Lebanese community for equipping and furnishing the facility to quarantine and treating persons affected by the coronavirus.