By Jimmey C. Fahngon
President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf has broken ground for the construction of the National Public Health Institute of Liberia (NPHIL) and National Reference Laboratory Building in Congo Town, near Monrovia.
Speaking at the program Thursday, President Johnson-Sirleaf said the construction of NPHIL facilities would enhance Liberia’s capacity to deal with infectious disease control and prevention.
She recalled how the Ebola outbreak caught Liberia’s health sector unaware due to lack of sophisticated health facilities, thereby resulting into the death of thousands of Liberians.
However, she said the construction of the facilities that will be equipped, would greatly help to strengthen the country health system to tackle any outbreak in a timely fashion.
She lauded Liberia’s partners, especially the United States Government for its continuous support to improve the country health sector.
Earlier, NPHIL Director General Tolbert Nyenswah said the need to have national public institute and laboratory became necessary as a result of the Ebola outbreak.
He disclosed that design works for the facilities are well advanced, while construction work will begin between now and December, 2017.
Mr. Nyenswah praised President Johnson-Sirleaf for being the brain behind the proposed project.
He said when completed, the facilities will give the Government of Liberia a platform to address issues of biosafety and biosecurity through the performance of public health research and diagnostics of dangerous pathogens, epidemiology and disease surveillance.
For her part, Health Minister Dr. Bernice Dahn said establishing a strong public health foundation is critical to any resilient health system.
She said Liberia’s health system has been in recovery for some time since the war and Ebola outbreak.
Minister Dahn said the public health institute will help Liberia ensure implementation to achieve the international health regulations established by the World Health Organization.
In remarks, United States Ambassador to Liberia Christine Elder said the construction of the facilities alone won’t achieve the advances and results in the health sector that are urgently needed, noting that it will take the steadfast commitment of all stakeholders to achieve the principal goal of the global health security agenda, a world equipped to conquer infectious disease threats.
She assured of the United States Government continuous support to Liberia.