The Engineers Company of the Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL), with logistical and technical support from the US Army, has started the construction of nine Ebola Treatment Units (ETUs) in seven of Liberia’s 15 counties. The construction work began last month when an AFL Engineering team of 20, assisted by technicians from the US SEABEES started reconnaissance in the selected counties.
The counties to benefit are Lofa, Bong, Margibi, Grand Bassa, Bomi, Grand Cape Mount and Nimba. Two ETU sites are to be erected in Lofa (Voinjama and Zorzor) while another two will be built in Nimba at the Ganta Methodist Hospital and the Jackson F. Doe Memorial Hospital in Tappita.
The rest of the ETUs will be located in strategic areas of the remaining five counties namely in the Bong Mines area and Totota, BRE Compound, Own Your Own Community, Tubmanburg Government Hospital and Sinje.
The surveys, Bill of Quantities and structure designs for the various ETU sites were done by the AFL engineers. They will double their strength to 40 in order to simultaneously construct three ETUs in Bomi, Bassa and Grand Cape Mount Counties, respectively. Those ETUs will take five to 12 days to be completed and presented to Government.
During a recent ground-breaking ceremony at the ETU construction site in Tubmanburg last Friday, AFL Chief of Staff (COS) Brigadier General Daniel D. Ziankahn, upon receiving the building materials, acknowledged the U S Military and the AFL joint operation that was launching the construction of many ETUs throughout the country.
General Ziankhan said the project would last for five to 12 weeks, and when finished would accommodate 80 to 100 beds.
AFL Engineers were already in Grand Bassa County carrying out geological surveys, the COS said, adding that the land capacity depends on how much each county authority would provide for the 30 units intended for the area identified.
The AFL which has now rolled out into civil-military operations, according to its COS, is doing everything to support the health sector, an indication that the military can transition from time to time while remaining committed to serving its people and nation.
For his part, Brigadier General Peter Corey of the U S Department of Defense (DOD) added that their support is tied to the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), which is the lead federal agency responsible for the U.S. response to fighting Ebola and assisting the Liberian Government.
The United States DOD, he said, is providing financial, technical and logistical assistance in partnership with the AFL and in support of the civilian leadership.
General Corey said the DOD will not provide treatment however, leaving that role to other agencies and USAID as well as the Liberian Government to determine who manages and provides healthcare at the various ETUs upon their completion.
The ETUs being constructed will go into service at once for the treatment of individuals suffering from the deadly Ebola virus disease that has taken away the lives of many Liberians.