By Alva Mulbah Wolokolie
The Government of France has reaffirmed its commitment to helping prevent the spread of the Ebola epidemic with the Government and people of Liberia.
France Ambassador accredited near Monrovia, Joel GODEAU, told a group of journalists at his residence in Congo Town that France which has been very active in the creation of the Global Fund to fight against AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria, has also confirmed its position at the second rank among 2014 world donors, following the United States, in contributing up to US$1.5 billion(12% of total budget) over the period 2014-2016.
Speaking about his country’s support to the health sector and the Ebola outbreak response regarding Liberia, which is one of the recipient countries, Ambassador GODEAU indicated that France has contributed to the program of the Global Fund in the amount of US$12m over three years.
In addition, following a debt reduction and development agreement of 3.9m Euros which is US$5.5m signed between France and Liberia on August 16, 2012 for a five-year period (2012-2016), Ambassador GODEAU told reporters that France has fully contributed to the Health Sector Pool Fund (HSPF), in order to support the National Health and Social Welfare policy for 2011-2021, by allotting every year more than US$1m.
In a similar way, the Ambassador said France being one of the most experimented countries in the fight against epidemics, decided to support affected countries by focusing on Guinea, where appeared the first victims of the disease. However, he added that France is also committed to help Liberia in reducing the epidemic.
He explained that through the crisis center of the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs as well as through its international diplomatic network, France has played an active and often decisive role to boost the decisions of sending technical experts to Guinea and Liberia.
At the political level, he indicated that France fully supports the Liberian authorities and commends the President’s involvement in the fight against the epidemic, as well as the role the Minister of Health has played in mobilizing resources and coordinating the response to the epidemic.
Ambassador GODEAU used the occasion to praise the steadfast position taken by President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf against the shortsighted and ill-advised idea to close the borders and emphasized that only close coordination and solidarity amongst countries of the region will help to prevent the spread of the disease.
“Therefore, France supported the decision of MSF to deploy, after its request, a technical team in order to set up an isolation center with Personal Protection Equipment (PPE). France also supported European expert teams already on the field (France Pasteur institute in particular). Through WHO, France has also mobilized some technical expertise on behalf of the “Global Alert Response Network to Outbreaks” (GOARN) and sent a French technician to the mobile European laboratory team deployed by WHO in Gueckedou, Guinea. The laboratory is the one which has analyzed for over a week samples of suspected Ebola cases coming from Liberia and thus allows the Liberian Ministry of Health to better evaluate the reality of the epidemic,” The French Ambassador said.