Bassa Craves for ETU, More Ambulances

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If the Ebola Virus Disease, that is steadily engulfing Grand Bassa with over 21 confirmed deaths and about 50 confirmed cases, must be contained and eradicated from the county, there is a need for an Ebola Treatment Unit (ETU) to be constructed,  stakeholders in the county have said.

The Grand Bassa County task force on Ebola last week said with the situation in the county is steadily worsening, there is a need for central government and its numerous partners to ensure that an ETU is constructed and other supports provided for ensure  immediate and effective responses.

The county task force, through its chairperson, Dr. Joseph Kerkula, said in order for the virus to be contained and hopefully eradicated from the county, these structures need to be put into place and adequately supported for sustainability.

Briefing President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf last week in the Port City of Buchanan, Dr. Kekula said that the referral system in the county is non-functional.

President Sirleaf had gone on a daylong visit to the county to get first-hand information at the various health facilities about the Ebola situation in that part of the country.

She said her visit was to acquaint herself with situation  affecting those at the health centers and to identify with them.

Grand Bassa is the sixth worst hit county after Nimba, Bong, Margibi, Lofa and Montserrado Counties in suspected, probable and confirmed cases. Grand Bassa has 29 suspected cases, 34 probable and 43 confirmed cases totaling 106.

Dr. Kerkula stressed the need for the construction of an Ebola treatment and holding center in the county, due to the over-crowdedness of existing temporary treatment centers there.

Dr. Kerkula, who is also the County Health Officer (CHO) for the county, also spoke of the inadequacy of ambulances in Grand Bassa. He named those among many other challenges facing the county, which he said is impeding the work of the task force.

The Grand Bassa County task force boss pleaded with the Liberian President for the provision of four ambulances for the four districts for quick response to the Ebola crisis.

He called for support to the burial team in terms of vehicles and other equipment to enhance the work of health workers.

At least 21 persons have died from the deadly Ebola virus in the county, Dr. Kekula disclosed.  There are 44 confirmed cases of the Ebola virus with Districts 1 and 2 being the most affected.

The Grand Bassa CHO also pointed out that among the 21 deaths, sixteen died in various communities while six died in hospital. This situation, he stressed, indicates that the community structure needs to be strengthened and a robust contact tracing be put into place.

Meanwhile President Sirleaf during her daylong visit, toured several parts of Grand Bassa County and health centers in the county,  including Bokay Town,  Dowein, Barclayville, the Diahn Pleh Holding Center near Compound #1, the Lloydsville Health Center and the St John Clinic in Fortsville.

She also visited the St. Peter Claver Health Center, the former LAMCO Hospital, now the ArcelorMittal Health Center, and the Liberian Government Hospital, all in Buchanan.

President Sirleaf lauded health workers for what she termed their “sacrificial services to humanity.”  She promised that government would do everything possible to meet some of their immediate needs.

She lauded the staff of the various health centers for their commitment at the time when the nation is facing its difficulties. In spite of these  difficulties, President Sirleaf added, “Liberia will overcome the ongoing Ebola epidemic with the help of partners who are assisting the Liberian government and people.

Meanwhile, the President has presented a brand new vehicle to the Liberian Government Hospital in Buchanan. The pick-up is to be used by authorities of the hospital as it continues to fight against the Ebola virus. The pick-up was made available by the Fula Community in Liberia.

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