Despite the raging of the deadly Ebola Virus which has claimed more than 70 lives in Nimba with over 300 contacts, the status of the holding site situated at the Ganta Hospital Compound remains in limbo.
The site, which was expected to be officially turned over to the Administration of Nimba County on 4th September 2014, is yet to be completed with several other facilities still untouched.
“We do not have water in the entire building as of present, and this place cannot be opened in the absence of water,” Supt. Fong Zuagele told the Daily Observer in frustration.
When this reporter visited the project site, there was still work ongoing in bathrooms and other places in the building.
Clean up was still ongoing as well, and there was no sign of its being ready to hold patients as there are yet no beds or other necessary supplies.
Even though those recruited to work in the facility are still undergoing training in Monrovia, the continual delay in the completion of the holding site is causing dismay among residents in Ganta.
Over 70 persons — suspected, probable and confirmed deaths — have occurred in Nimba since the Ebola outbreak intensified in July. With Ganta carrying the highest death rate, the holding site issue remains the stickiest part in the fight against Ebola, causing frustration among the citizens.
Since the outbreak, people continue to die at home in Ganta daily, to which many have attributed the death rate, due to neglect or no care.
Among the latest dead is a six-year-old girl who died on the 2nd of September 2014 at home in the Small Ganta Community, the hot spot in Ganta at present.
According to reports, this little girl was the last remaining relative of the Roseline Tokpah family, whose death spread the virus in the Small Ganta Community.
Roseline Tokpah, an employee of Ecobank – Ganta, and her entire family, including her husband, died of Ebola after Roseline's sickness was believed to be the result of food poisoning — until she died.
Nearly all of those who came in contact with Roseline are said to have died, and the little girl was believed to be last of her family.
“If there was a holding site, at least this little girl was going to be cared for and survived,” said one of the residents.
The Ganta holding site has been earmarked since late July 2014.
The first building the Methodist Hospital provided was changed because it required extensive renovation, then the Ear Clinic which is yet to be completed.
Arcelor Mittal, who is underwriting the cost, committed to complete and turn the building over to the county on 4th Sept 2014. The company also promised to provide beds, but the delay is worrying the already frightened population of Ganta.
“The building is completed,” says Jerry Mwagbwe, a spokesperson for ArcelorMittal Liberia. “About two weeks ago, a delegation from the County Health Team approached the management to provide the furnishings (specialty mattresses, buckets, etc) for the building once completed. Although the management wanted to turn over the building and supply the furnishings later, the general view is that the building be furnished first. That was the reason why it was not turned over today. All efforts are being exerted and to expedite the procurement process to ensure the furnishings are available in full.”
City Mayor Dorr Cooper later explained that authorities and their partners are making sure that everything needed in the building is completed before turning it over so as not to face embarrassment once the site is opened to the public.