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GeneralHealthLiberia news

What’s stalling NPHIL building

As Disaster looms

By: Emmanuel wise Jipoh 

The prefabricated structure that currently hosts the National Public Health Institute of Liberia (NPHIL) in Congo Town has overstretched its capacity, risking collapse, if nothing is done to relocate.

Initially meant for 100 persons, the facility now hosts over 300 employees, putting lives at risk.

Construction for a new NPHIL building right in front of the congested prefabricated structure, which should have been completed, fully furnished, and handed over in 2022 has stalled ever since with no sign in sight for resumption.

Unconfirmed reports suggest that part of the money for construction was diverted. This paper wrote the US Department of Defense the lead agency heading the construction project on the present state of the construction process but had not received any reply.

However, NPHIL communication officer Joseph Weah, acknowledged the prefabricated structure poses serious risk to the over 300 staff that works there.

Current prefabricated building

The volume of equipment being used within the building cannot withstand the number of electrical appliances, which could cause serious fire disaster if care is not taken.

Commenting on the suspended construction of a proposed standard laboratory adjacent to the NPHIL, Mr. Weah clarifies that the estimated US$18 Million project is an initiative of the Government of the United States.

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He details that if completed, the Americans are expected to turn it over to the Government of Liberia.

 He dismissed speculations that NPHIL received the US$18 million from the U.S. Government and has used US$2 million of the amount, something that might have caused the delay in completing the construction.

 Mr. Weah said at no time did the National Public Health Institute of Liberia received any money for the construction of the building.

” I do not know anything about US$18 million dollars for the construction of this building or any money given; all I know is that the building is owned by the U.S. Government and is to be presented as a gift to the Government of Liberia, and is being constructed by West Construction Liberia”, he explained. 

However, he told The New Dawn the delay is a result of an appeal from NPHIL to the United States Government to change the architectural design of the building and add offices, in the face of the congested prefabricated structure, which according to him, the United States Government consented to. 

He gave a timeframe of nearly two years for the project and added that the previous design was intended to transfer the National Public Health Institute of Liberia National Reference Laboratory from Charlesville to Monrovia. 

During the final year of the Ellen Johnson Sirleaf Administration in 2017, the United States Department of Defense Biosafety and Biosecurity Program in partnership with NPHIL broke grounds for the construction of a new facility that will serve as headquarters for both institutions to enhance Liberia’s ability to diagnose and research on infectious diseases.

The building is yet to be completed, nearly five years since the first bricks were laid, and almost five years under the Weah Administration, something that has raised concern in the public. Editing by Jonathan Browne

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