Monrovia – Welthungerhilfe recently handed over three modern health facilities to the Ministry of Health in Sinoe and River Gee counties supporting the government of Liberia in its quest to build a resilient health system.
When the Ebola virus stroke Liberia in 2014, the health system of Liberia was overwhelmed and exposed and over 4,800 people lost their lives.
The existing health infrastructures were not able to receive and accommodate the high number of cases health workers lacked needed equipment and a safe working area to treat the patients.
The need to strengthen the health system became obvious and a top priority for the Liberian Government and the International Community.
The Federal Government of Germany through the German Development Bank (KfW) released a grant of 5 million Euro to the Government of Liberian to improve the health system in Southeast Liberia.
Welthungerhilfe implemented the program which has a strong focus on the upgrading/renovation or construction of new health facilities in line with the newest infrastructure standards of the MoH and even taking extra measures for the protection of health workers in their facility.
The project under the title “Ebola Support Programme is constructing altogether nine health facilities in three counties: Sinoe, River Gee and Grand Gedeh.
The handover ceremonies of three of the facilities took place on November 23rd and 25th in Dugbe River District, Sinoe County and Fish Town, River Gee County respectively.
The handed-over facilities are Menwah Walker Clinic (a new clinic with a maternal ward attached to the facility and valued at US$224,000.00, Karquekpo Clinic (upgraded with a triage, latrines and a maternal unit, valued US$118,000) and the Fish Town Hospital Isolation Unit (a structure with 10 isolation rooms, and upgrading of the hospital with a morgue, laundry and triage unit and erosion protection around the facility against rainwater, water tower, generator house, pavement within the compound and waste management system all valued $729,548.00).
Fish Town Hospital Isolation Unit is the only facility for Southeast Liberia with the nearest facility being in Tapitta. Situated on the premises of the hospital in River Gee, the isolation unit will provide care to patients with infectious diseases and has an outreach to Grand Gedeh, Grand Kru, Maryland and Sinoe Counties.
“Even though Welthungerhilfe is not working in the health sector, Welthungerhilfe is since 2006 active in Southeast Liberia with infrastructure and understand the need to support the Government in these situations and started to link up with the Ministry of Health through Dr. Kateh to discuss the design that could be the most appropriate for an isolation unit at a time there were none in the country” said Thomas tenBoer, Welthungerhilfe Country Director.
When receiving the health facilities on behalf of the Liberian Government, the Chief Medical Officer of Liberia, Dr. Francis Kateh said Welthungerhilfe (WHH) is one of the NGOs he remained proud of since the fight against Ebola.
“During these days, WHH collaborated with the National Government in using locally produced materials being cost effective to build long lasting isolation units in Zwedru, Harper, Greenville and Fish Town. This could have cost millions of dollars when outsourced” said Dr. Kateh.
He further recounted the numerous supports made by Welthungerhilfe (WHH) to the government ranging from construction of bridges to the building of schools, wells, and agriculture processing units all valuable structures in the South East of the country with support from the people from Germany.
Speaking earlier during the ceremony in Fish Town, the Deputy Head of Mission, Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany, Günter Plambeck said the isolation unit is a great project of cooperation between Germany and Liberia and also a symbol of the long-standing friendship between the two countries.
Within the coming weeks, WHH will be handing over the remaining 6 health facilities in the 3 counties.