SCHEFFLIN, Marigibi County – President George Weah has vowed to complete all of his ‘signature projects’ during his presidency, some of which include the 14th Military Hospital and the development of Bali Island.
He made the pledge on Wednesday when he officially dedicated the 14th Military Hospital built under his command for military personnel and their families.
“I have a vision and a mission for Liberia,” President Weah said. “My vision is to develop Liberia to the maximum extent possible during my Presidency. And my mission is to complete every project that I embark upon in that process. This Military Hospital is one of my signature projects, and I am both proud and happy today to see that my dream has been realized, and in record time.”
He continued: “One of my other signature projects is the development of Bali Island. There are many who doubt our ability to bring this project to fruition. But these skeptics do not discourage nor distract me from my mission.”
The President, further taking aim at his critics said, “Those who have eyes to see, let them see. There are those who see reality, but they act like they don’t see. But it has often been said, that none are as blind, as those who do not wish to see well, let them speak today, or forever hold their peace.”
The President was joined by an array of officials including members of the Legislature, the cabinet, the Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL) and the Defense Attachés of the Embassy of the United States of America and that of the People’s Republic of China.
Following the dedication, the President led a guided tour of the 150-bed medical facility, inspecting various departments including the patients’ wards, surgical rooms, and maternity and Emergency wards.
In his first Armed Forces Day message on February 11, 2018, President Weah announced the construction of a military hospital for the soldiers, their families and the general populations.
In his recollections at the dedicatory ceremony, he said the decision to build the hospital was prompted by the 2017 tragedy in Mali where soldiers of the AFL, serving on the UN Peace Keeping Mission were wounded and taken to Senegal for treatment.
The President said he was briefed by Defense Minister Daniel Ziahkan, who told him to call his colleague, President Macky Sall of Senegal to thank him for receiving the soldiers, and for making sure that they received the proper medical attention.
“Ziahkan then told me that they needed to send the wounded soldier’s family to Senegal to be with him, and he was requesting the Government to provide some funds to send the family. We were able to do that. But then I became very concerned that there were no specialized medical facilities in Liberia for the use of our men and women in arms, and wondered why no previous Administration had thought it wise to provide such essential services to our military,” he said.
He continued: “And then I said to Ziahkan, that since Armed Forces Day was coming in a couple of weeks, in my Armed Forces Day Speech, I would be bold enough to directly deal with this glaring deficiency. I decided that, instead of sending our soldiers who are on the war front fighting terrorism to different countries when they got wounded, we need to build our own military hospital, where we will have specialists that will treat them.”
He was quick to point out that many who listened to his pronouncement that day thought that it was just a dream, or an illusion; and just mere words being spoken which were not grounded in reality.
He said: “There were many skeptics, and many critics. But those who thought that way did not know that I am not a man of words, but a man of action. They completely under-estimated my determination, and the strength of my resolve, especially when I am faced with a challenge that seems to be against all odds. I talk, and I do. Talk, and do.”
With the assistance of the Engineering Company of the Armed Forces of Liberia, the construction work began, and by March 2020, ten months later, the hospital, now named the 14 Military Hospital, was 95 percent completed, he recounted.
At that time, Liberia experienced the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic, and the facility was used to help contain the virus; as it was used for isolation and treatment of patients who test positive.
“This is where we were very fortunate to have the 14 Military Hospital available, although it was not yet completely finished and operational. Because of its location away from the general population, and without any patients already occupying its wards, it became the perfect isolation center, and played a major role in our battle with the coronavirus pandemic,” he said.
He expressed delight that the Hospital was now complete and ready for operation, adding, it is fully equipped and staffed with a dedicated and qualified team of medical professionals.
He noted that it will become the central health care facility of the Armed Forces of Liberia, and with its 150-bed capacity, will begin to provide in-patient services as well as outpatient services to the men and women in arms, and their families.
In the near future, he announced, the 14 Military Hospital will provide other specialized services for the general Liberian population. And these services will include certain emergency medical and surgical procedures such as plastic surgeries, and burn care, as well as general surgery.
“It will become the center of healthcare excellence, providing quality services and comfort for all Liberians,” he averred.