Liberian President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf inaugurated Friday the first of 17 new Ebola Treatment Units (ETUs) in Congotown, not far from the capital, Monrovia. The U.S.-financed ETUs were constructed by the military. During her speech at the unveiling, Sirleaf thanked international donors for their strong response to the worst ever outbreak of Ebola the world has seen.
Some of the 90 doctors and nurses sent by Cuba to help the West African country, who attended the unveiling, will be working at a field hospital currently under construction at the former site of the Liberian Defense Ministry. It will be connected to the ETUs built with funds from the U.S. Agency for International Development, USAID.
The U.S. has already deployed about 4,000 troops to the region most affected by Ebola, which also includes Guinea and Sierra Leone. They are currently helping move supplies and equipment, build hospitals and train local health care workers.
An additional 65 U.S. public health system (USPHS) workers arrived in Monrovia on October 27 to help Liberia according to a statement posted on the USAID website.
Washingon has contributed a total of $362 million to the anti-Ebola effort in addition to significant contributions by the World Bank, European Commission, Canada, the African Development Bank and Britain.
The largest of the 17 ETUs that the U.S. military is building in Liberia - which will house 200 beds - is located only a few meters from the site of the former Liberian Defense Ministry. The Cuban doctors and nurses will be mainly responsible for its operation. The other ETUs contain about 100 beds and cost between $ 250,000 and $ 500,000 to build.
Cuba's official government website confirmed that Cuban health personnel will begin working Monday at the newly-opened unit.
Ronald Hernandez Torres, one of the Cuban doctors who traveled to Liberia wrote in Spanish on his Facebook page that "This unit has the best conditions for patient care, and the best professionals from different countries working side by side."
U.S. Permanent Representative to the U.N., Ambassador Samantha Power, praised Cuba for its contribution to the fight against Ebola after returning from a recent trip to West Africa.