By Ametepe Francis
The 8th Ghana Engineer Company (GHANENGCOY 8) serving in Mali, is providing essential services to United Nations (UN) International Staff, Military Staff Officers (MSOs), Military Observers (MILOBs) as well as Military Contingents and Formed Police Units, operating in the Integrated Supper Camp (ISC) in Timbuktu, in the Company’s effort in the fight against the novel coronavirus pandemic.
The novel coronavirus, which was first documented in Wuhan, China in December 2019, has since spread throughout the world, with Mali declaring its first two cases on 25 March, 2020 and, subsequently on 04 April 2020, MINUSMA also recorded its first case, which has led to a total lockdown of the ISC, with UN International Staff ordered to work from their rooms, whilst Local Contract Staff stayed at home until the situation normalizes.
This development resulted in deficiency of technical human resource to sustain personnel of the Mission in ISC. Consequently, GHANENCOY was tasked to man and maintain the UN generator farms, provide drinkable water and waste water treatment services, as well as undertake minor electrical works – essential services, which hitherto, were provided by Local Contract Workers.
In addition to the core tasks and those mentioned above, GHANENGCOY 8 is solely responsible for all engineering works within the ISC, including construction of Observation Posts (OPs), construction of Nigeria Medical Level II hospital, expansion and fortification of the Camp, construction of COVID-19 isolation and quarantine centres and undertaking emergency engineer tasks at short notice.
In sensitizing personnel and ensuring their safety, the Company’s medical team conducts educational sessions in small groups on COVID-19 preventive measures, notable ones including social distancing of at least 1.5m, regular hand washing with soap under running water, use of alcohol-based hand sanitizers and wearing of face marks.
Additionally, an isolation room has been designated within the Sappers Camp, to manage COVID-19 cases that may be recorded.
The determination, efficiency and proficiency of the GHANENGCOY in supporting MINUSMA in Timbuktu, has been highly commended by the Mission leadership and staff within the ISC. The Company promises to live by its motto “RESILIENT and AUDACIOUS” in all endeavours including support for the total eradication of COVID-19 and by extension achieving the Mission’s mandate.