Monrovia – The National Public Health Institute of Liberia (NPHIL) in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Defense Biosafety and Biosecurity Program Thursday broke grounds for the construction of a new facility which will serve as the headquarters of two new Public health facilities that will enhance Liberia’s ability to diagnose and conduct research on infectious diseases.
Facilities for which a ground breaking ceremony was graced by President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and US ambassador to Liberia Christie Elder, will be known as the National Public health institute of Liberia/National Reference Laboratory (NPHIL/NRL) building.
In her remarks the US ambassador said, the construction of the facility alone won’t achieve the advances and results in health that are urgently needed but 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.
“The United States Department of Defense, Defense Threat Reduction Agency-Cooperative Biological engagement program (DTRA-CBEP) and Liberia’s NPHIL are leading the development of the landmark project. Construction activities, led by primary contractor CH2M, will continue through April 2019.
When completed, this facility will increase the capacity of Government of Liberia to address issues of biosafety and biosecurity through public health research and diagnostic evaluation of dangerous pathogens.
The project reflects commitment from the U.S Government and the Government of Liberia to pursue objectives outlined in the Global health security Agenda to improve health outcomes, both in Liberia and around the globe.
Over the next two years, Liberia and the United States will work together to conduct training and provide equipment and laboratory items to strengthen laboratory testing capabilities in Liberia to facilitate the rapid detection of infectious disease threats and effective disease outbreak responses.
The Project when completed in 2019 will enable Liberia to more effectively address issues of biosafety and biosecurity. It will enable Liberia to conduct rapid diagnostic evaluation of dangerous pathogens and elevate Public Health research.
The institute with direct oversight by the Government of Liberia will establish a central repository for control of pathogens.
The United States is proud to be part of this effort strengthening the Public health sector and reaffirms our commitment to collaborate on the health safety and security of Liberia and our share global community.
This facility is more than a building. It is a platform its construction alone won’t achieve the advances and results in health that are urgently needed. The steadfast commitment of all stakeholders will be required to achieve the central goal of the Global health security agenda.”
For his Part Mr. Tolbert Nyenswah, director General of the National Public Health Institute described as an incredible milestone towards preventing, detecting and responding to public health threats in Liberia and globally.
He said, the Project reflects the commitment from the Liberian and US governments to pursue the objectives outlined in the Global Health security Agenda to ensure improved health outcomes for the People of Liberia.
“Over the course of the next two years, Liberia and the U.S will work together to provide training, equipment and consumables, to further strengthen laboratory testing capabilities in Liberia, which will allow for more rapid detection of dangerous diseases, thereby, enabling quicker disease outbreak response,” Nyenswah said.
The ground breaking according to President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf was a reflection of two years ago when she and her officials sat around the table not knowing what to do and confused about a strange disease that was killing Liberians (Ebola Virus Disease).
She praised the partnership with US former President Barrack Obama who after a phone call informing him about the plight of Liberians immediately sent military personnel to intervene in the health crisis.