After a period of search and negotiations with different parties as to where in Nimba the county health team can use as a treatment center for patients being diagnosed or suspected of the Coronavirus, the Esther and Jereline Medical Center in Ganta has now be turned over to be used for the purpose.
The E&J Medical Center has already been negotiated to be turned over to the Government of Liberia to be used as a public hospital for a period of 10 years, and the government is to take over it shortly.
Speaking to reporters in Nimba on Tuesday, June 23, 2020, the heads of Nimba County Coronavirus Task Force, Superintendent Nelson Korquoi, and Nimba County Health Officer, Dr. Philip Sahr, expressed gratitude to the proprietor of the hospital, Representative Jeremiah Koung, for turning the hospital over for use as COVID-19 treatment center.
Superintendent Korquoi said using the facility as a treatment center will boost the fight against COVID–19 in terms of easing the tension in transporting suspected Coronavirus cases to the 14 Military Hospital in Monrovia.
“Although, we have Saclepea and Kpain as the two centers that were earmarked earlier, the use of this hospital will ease the tension we faced in taking specimen and patients from Nimba to Monrovia,” said Korquoi.
“With the treatment center being in Ganta, affected people will no longer have the fear of being too isolated from their relatives, and the family members will also be able to at least visit their affected relatives,” he added.
Dr. Philip Sahr on the other hand said the hospital being turned into COVID -19 center does not mean that patients with other health conditions cannot go there for treatment.
He explained that the hospital was divided into two compartments, with one being used to treat those with COVID-19, while the other compartment will be used for treating regular patients visiting the hospital.
He said the hospital is so equipped that it does not require wasting any time in moving the COVID-19 patients for treatment.
“We have enough beds, private rooms for suspected or quarantine cases, and ward with about 20 beds for those that may be tested positive,” Dr. Sahr said in a joyful tone.
Since the outbreak of COVID-19 in March this year, the Nimba Task Force has been finding it very difficult to establish a treatment center or even a holding center because of the citizens’ refusal to allow their communities to be used for such a purpose.
While in search of a place sometimes in April and identified the Francis Maweah Public School to use as a treatment and holding center, residents of the area resisted and deployed the traditional poro masters on the campus, preventing non-members, women, and members wanting to use the facility from going there.
Dr. Philip Sahr also explained that the caseload in Nimba is rising with about 50% of Nimba cases in Ganta, something he appealed to the public to use nose masks and frequently wash their hands and at the same time observing social distancing.
Superintendent Nelson Korquoi is at the same time calling on Liberians in the diaspora to assist the center with food and other supplies like detergent, citing that the government is overwhelmed and cannot reach the facility fully with those necessities.
Nimba County, especially Ganta, has been loosed this recent times when the government adjusted the stay home schedule from 3 p.m. to 9 p.m. With this, business centers including night clubs, video club, restaurant, and all other areas restricted not to operate were opened and subsequently became overcrowded.