The world’s steel giant, ArcelorMittal have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Liberian Government Hospital in Grand Bassa County for the donation of drugs for a three-month period. The MOU takes effect immediately.
ArcelorMittal is the world's leading integrated steel and mining company, with a presence in more than 60 countries, including Liberia.
The Grand Bassa County Health Officer, Dr. Joseph L. Kekula, thanked the company management for the partnership in its fight against Ebola.
He noted that the county had earlier partnered with the Company from the beginning of the Ebola outbreak in March and this gesture represents that on-going partnership. “ArcelorMittal Liberia met with us back in early April at the onset of the first Ebola outbreak, at which time the idea to build the country’s first isolation unit, outside the Capitol Monrovia came about.”
Describing the donation as “timely,” Dr. Kerkula expressed his appreciation for the donation, saying: “We have been operating at full capacity with every department in the hospital open and running.
The donation, said Dr. Kerkula, will help make the hospital more efficient in dealing with other common sicknesses in the midst of the Ebola crisis. “We cannot afford to neglect these sicknesses as they also pose a significant threat to the lives of our people.”
According to him, there were only two ambulances parked in the Government Hospital’s yard which Arcelormittal Liberia was also requested to repair to ensure we were prepared should the Ebola situation in the country worsen.
Dr. Kerkula narrated that the County Health Team and the Superintendent of the County, Madam Etweda Cooper, held a meeting with the Arcelormittal Management, including its CEO, Antonio Carlos Maria, in September. At this meeting, the county proposed additional assistance for the hospital to support its patients.
“We are here to support you in this fight,” said the Arcelormittal CEO, “So please always let us know where there are gaps and we will do our best to close those gaps.”
Mr. Carlos Maria said the County requested that the Company handle the purchasing of the drugs, which were estimated at US$17,500 per month. “We agreed and the company has procured the drugs with the understanding that after three months the situation would be assessed regarding the way forward.”
Also speaking at the signing ceremony, Dr. Ben Kanwee, medical director of ArcelorMittal Liberia Hospital in Buchanan, said he and his team will continue to engage with the county to further ensure that their needs are met.
“Our mission is to continue to discuss measures that will improve conditions within the county health system,” said Dr. Kanwee.
“Ample supply of drugs is one of the top priorities suggested by the team,” and we at Arcelormittal are committed to supporting this priority,” he further noted.
The county health officials and the company deemed it necessary that an adequate supply of drugs to combat the disease be available at various hospitals in the county.