The management of ArcelorMittal has handed over a 60-bed Ebola Unit to the Nimba County Health Team, the first ever in the county to serve both as an isolation unit and treatment center.
The decision to renovate the former eye clinic at the Ganta United Methodist Hospital in Ganta City, Nimba, for the purpose of a holding center for suspected Ebola cases, was presented as a request to the ArcelorMittal Liberia management by the county’s authorities. The company consented, and subsequently renovated and refurbished the unit.
In addition to the renovation, the company has also provided buckets, mattresses and chlorine to be used in the unit, which formal handover had been slated for Friday, September 12, but was held on Monday, September 15.
According to Dr. Taryor of the Ganta United Methodist Hospital, once the unit is handed over to the hospital administration, they expect an influx of patients. The renovation work covered the entrance and exit to the unit, and an incinerator and holding tent erected behind the renovated building. ArcelorMittal Liberia’s Patrick Johnson and his crew accepted the task of completing the requirements over the weekend, in time for Monday’s handover.
While the unit in Ganta is a renovated building, the company is constructing a second Ebola holding unit in Sanniquellie at the G.W. Harley memorial hospital also in Nimba. The building is expected to be completed and handed over before the end of September.
Meanwhile, ArcelorMittal Liberia has launched the Ebola Contact Tracing and Surveillance (ECTAS) Project as a pilot initiative to support local communities and county task forces in tracking, surveillance and reporting potential and actual human contacts with confirmed, probable and suspected Ebola infected persons.
“It is a community based project that builds on existing local structures to address the critical gaps in contact tracing and surveillance in Nimba and Grand Bassa Counties,” said Marcus Wleh, Corporate Responsible and Government Affairs Manager for ArcelorMittal Liberia.
With a reported value of US$104,000, the objective is to enhance local capacity in contract tracing and surveillance, through training and equipping 150 contact tracers in high risk communities.
“The project will also increase community participation in the fight against the Ebola virus disease,” says ArcelorMittal Liberia Country Manager, Ronnie Addy, and added, “while helping individuals and communities to take ownership of the responsibility to combating the virus at the household level.”
Therefore, ArcelorMittal Liberia is partnering with AFRICARE to support 100 contact tracers in Nimba County, while supporting 50 contact tracers in Grand Bassa County through another NGO. The project ends in mid-December, 2014.