UL Contemplates Researching Infectious Diseases

Authorities of the Science College at the University of Liberia have disclosed plans to begin research on viruses and other infectious diseases prevalent in Liberia.

This move by the nation’s highest institution of learning is coming in the midst of the ragging deadly Ebola crisis, which has claimed and continues to claim hundreds of lives in Liberia.

The UL Thomas J.R. Faulkner College of Science & Technology comprises departments, including Engineering, Chemistry, Physics and Biology.

Making the disclosure on September 24, the Dean of the College, Dr. (PhD) Ophelia Inez Weeks said they have drawn the plan for the research, but were presently concentrating on creating more awareness about the deadly Ebola and waiting for it to subside, before their research work will be carried out.

The University of Liberia has a number of challenges, comprising lack of up-to-date textbooks, laboratory equipment, among others. 

Students studying and graduating from all the departments complain about the poor condition of the university’s laboratories.

Dr. Weeks in her statement said in spite of the challenges, they are strategizing means to secure funds from partners to enhance the project.

As they embark on the research project and seeking outside funding, Dr. Weeks said they are also throwing out to students, staff, faculties and senior administrators of the University of Liberia to contribute certain amounts they can afford.

She said while they seek assistance from outside; it is also good Liberians themselves contribute to their own project so others can take them seriously.

She said a student will be asked to contribute L$25, staff L$50 and faculty L$100.

Meanwhile, the Science College has also engaged in the sensitization process on Ebola but in the area of solution preparation for hand-washing.

According to Dr. Weeks, even though the local populations have been sensitized about hands washing, what is lacking is the preparation of the chlorine of Clorox solution.

A local resident who was taught how to prepare a solution said his family has been using solution containing unspecified quantities of Clorox, chlorine and powder soap to wash their hands.

The UL Ebola Task Force is currently going from door to door in environments around the campuses to teach people how to prepare the solution. UL campuses include those on Capitol Hill, Fendell and St. Joseph’s Catholic Hospital Community where the Medical School is located. Another one is in Sinje, Grand Cape Mount County.

Dr. Weeks said it is important people be taught how to prepare the solution because excessive use of Clorox, chlorine and other detergent together has the propensity to create other health problems including skin cancer.

Using the 1.5 liter water bottle, staffers forming the UL Task Force on Ebola taught residents in the Fendell campus community to put bottle caps of Clorox in a bottle of water for hand washing and multiply same by the number of bottles they would use to accommodate more people in the home.

Dr. Weeks said the pilot project the UL Task Force on Ebola is carrying out is made possible through the instrumentality of the Liberia Telecommunications Authority (LTA), which provided US$2,623.60.


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