U.S. Troops, AFL Commence ETU Construction

By C. Winnie Saywah-Jimmy

The United States (US) troops have already begun its mandate of constructing Ebola Treatment Units (ETUs) across the country with the support from the Armed Forces of Liberia who has rolled out its military support in the fight against the Ebola virus as of September 30, 2014.

Witnessing the preparation of the first in a series of nine ETUs to be constructed, the AFL Chief of Staff, Daniel Ziankahn said it is a joint operation with the U.S Military and the AFL and it commences the construction of many ETUs that will be constructed.

Brigadier General Ziankahn said the project will take between five to 12 weeks and will take from 80 to 100 beds noting that a group of AFL engineers were already in Grand Bassa County to carry out survey. He said the land capacity depends on how much the county authority would provide for the 30 units intended for each of the areas identified.

The AFL which has now rolled into civil military action according to its Chief of Staff the army is doing everything to support the health sector and that means the military can transition from time to time but the force remains committed to serving its people and nation.

Brigadier General Peter Corey of the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) also added that their support is tied to the USAID which is the lead federal agency responsible for the U.S. response to fighting Ebola and assisting the Liberian government.

He said they are providing financial assistance and contracting, technical assistance and logistical assistance in partnership with the AFL and in support of the civilian leadership. General Corey said the DOD will not provide treatment instead will leave that to other agencies and the USAID as well as the Liberian government to determine who manages and provide healthcare for the facilities upon its completion.

General Corey said most of the contracts are local for the fact that the building materials are purchased locally and transportation is also local. Meanwhile, the AFL has provided 20 engineers initially but the actual number might be added because the AFL has offered its human capacity for the construction of three sites simultaneously.

The ETUs expected to be constructed will be a total of nine in seven counties and it is observed that the ETUs are targeted for counties except Montserrado that is the epicenter of the outbreak of the virus. The counties include Bong, Margibi, Lofa, Grand Bassa, Bomi, Grand Cape Mount and Nimba.

In five to 12 days, the ETUs that are expected to be completed and ready for presentation to the Liberian government will be located at the Tubmanburg Hospital, Bomi, Sinje, Cape Mount and the old BRE Compound in Own Your Own, Grand Bassa Counties.

Those ETUs are being targets for the construction at once and the AFL engineers subcontracted have begun the survey and the bill of quality designed for each ETU are to be constructed by the U.S. Force while the Seabees will be responsible for the electrical and technical aspects.