U.S. Military Begins Hospital Construction for Healthcare Providers

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    The Engineering Team of the 3,000 U.S. Military troops expected in Liberia has begun constructing a 25-bed field hospital that will cater to healthcare workers who may contract the Ebola virus.

    Ground breaking for the hospital was carried out last  Saturday in Margibi County.

    This development follows the  deaths of many health workers in Liberia after unknowingly contracting the virus while attending to patients.

    Maj. Jason Brown, spokesperson for the Joint Force Command of the Operation United Assistance (OUA), told journalists at the site of the project that the hospital will be controlled by uniformed U.S. health workers and will be fully equipped with all the needed supplies.

    He said the hospital will be here as long as it can and is not meant to be taken down within a specified period of time.

    He also disclosed that the Operation United States   Assistance will establish mobile labs in the country in separate locations to test people for Ebola.

    Speaking in an interview at the site, one of the construction engineers, Petty Officer Richard Brown, described the location as a fairly good area but mentioned that drainage may pose a little challenge because the spot is a plain.

    He did not state when the construction will be completed  in time to arrest the Ebola the raging Ebola crisis.  However, Officer Brown said as the ground breaking has taken place and materials for the construction are expected, they will soon be engaged in intensive work in line with the timeline.

    Also on agenda of the Operation United Assistance is the airport monitoring to ensure safe landing of heavy aircrafts that will be supplying the 3,000 troops.

    Col. Brad Johnson, Port Operation Commander of the Joint Task Force, told journalists that they are also assessing the Roberts International Airport to make recommendations on what needs to be done on it to ensure safety.

    However, Col. Johnson said when the first heavy aircraft landed with equipment on ground, they did not encounter any problem.

    Roberts International Airport was built in 1942 by the Americans during World War II to serve as a landing and picking up point for the Allies that comprised America, Great Britain, France, Russia and others.

     RIA is one airport where many airliners land and pick up; however, it remains the least developed and unattractive airport, despite its huge revenue.

    Col. Johnson did not disclose whether any new development will take place at RIA; he said based on recommendations from their assessment, whatever that is needed to be done will take place as time goes by.

    In the wake of the spread of Ebola from August to present, President Barack Obama recently announced sending 3,000 U.S. military troops to the affected region in West Africa to help contain the disease.

    The military personnel comprise engineers and medical officers who will be meeting the health needs of Liberians and constructing more treatment units across the country.

    According to heads of the Operation United Assistance, they will also be working with the Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL) Engineering Department in constructing treatment units to accommodate patients coming down with the Ebola disease.

    The sending of military personnel is not the first response of the United States to the Ebola crisis in West Africa, specifically Liberia.

    United States had earlier provided US$14.5 million with additional US$5 million to the fight, and many experts from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have been deployed in the country working with local healthcare workers.

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