By C. Winnie Saywah-Jimmy
Save the Children has turned over a 50-bed Ebola Treatment facility in Suakoko, Bong County worth about US$170,000 intended to serve the central region as part of its contribution to the national fight against the spread of the virus in other parts of the country.
The construction of the ETU which is a project solely undertaken by Save the Children according to its acting Country Director, Mercy Gichuhi who turned over the unit, was as a result of a request made to them from the local health team of Bong County.
Madam Gichihi said Save the Children believes that the construction of the health facility will go a long way in responding to the health need in that region and that Phebe Hospital focuses more on primary health care and at the same time give confidence to the health workers who will know that they have a place to refer confirmed Ebola patients.
She said Save the Children’s partnership is with the government of Liberia and it is the county health team that will now have another agreement with the International Medical Corps (IMC) to manage the facility while Save the Children will always be there to support when there are gaps in terms of medical support and logistics.
Save the Children’s acting County Director said the next county of support is Margibi where similar facility will be constructed noting that plans are well advanced to begin in the coming weeks and her message to Liberians is to focus more on controlling the virus and by adhering strictly to the advice of medical practitioners.
Extending her gratitude to Save the Children, Bong Superintendent, Selena Mappy,called, on her colleagues in government not to politicize the urgency of eradicating the virus from the country. She said political hats need to be put aside so that unity can be forged in fight against the virus adding that they should stop shifting blames and defeat the virus.
She also called on the international partners not to use the outbreak of the virus in Liberia to exploit the country because every intervention needs to be brought to the table and collectively the agenda can be discussed as in the case with Save the Children for the betterment of the nation and to ensure that the virus is eradicated.
Receiving the ETU, the County Health Officer of Bong County, Samson Arzoaquoi said Ebola has brought a serious situation in the country coupled with frustration from residents who suggested that Phebe Hospital be converted into a holding center.
Dr. Arzoaquoi who explained how the request to Save the Children was made said due to the prevailing situation, together with the local government, they found the site but were greeted with threats from the same residents whose protest nearly prevented the construction of the center.
He said attention was attracted from Save the Children who provided resources with no financial input from the County Health Team noting, “We congratulate you Save the Children for you have done for us what we never imagined. This is a dream which we imagined the day it would have ever come through.”
He said the Ebola clearly showed that Liberia did not have the capacity to respond to any health emergency and its good side is that it attracts people and investors, resources who are now bringing them in to help and reminded the attendants that Bong County is one of the epic enters for Laser fever.
He said his appeal is that as the Ebola response is to international partners; their help would not be limited to interventions but to look at the country’s capacity so that it does not appear as a brief case intervention.
The Regional Officer for Africa of the World Health Organization (WHO), Sir Daniel Kebaco said this is the largest Ebola epidemic seen ever in the world but said it can be overcome. He said with the opening of an Ebola Treatment Unit together, they can bring Ebola under control.