Ghanaian Leader Braves Ebola Storm…Pays One-Day Visit To Liberia

By Morrison O.G. Sayon

In spite of fear amongst citizens of non-affected countries in the wake of the deadly Ebola outbreak in Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone, Ghanaian President, John D. Mahama has ended a one day visit to Liberia.   President Mahama is the first President to visit the West African country that now has the highest number of Ebola cases since the outbreak of the epidemic in Liberia in early March. The Ghanaian leader briefly met his counterpart, President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs before addressing a joint press conference yesterday.

President Mahama, who spent less than two hours in the country, expressed optimism that with determination, awareness, the Liberian people will be able to reciprocate. President Mahama said his visit is mainly about the observation of the guidelines by the Ministers of Health of the Economic Community of West African State (ECOWAS).

He added, “From the onset of the outbreak of this disease, actions and measures were taken out of panic. Now that we have a clearer understanding of the disease and how it spreads and all of the ramifications; we should not panic or take measures that will isolate countries that are affected by this outbreak because by doing that will make it more difficult for the disease to be brought under control.”

President Mahama said, “I believe that as long as all of us are instituting proper screening mechanism, we can allow normal economic activities because Ebola is going to have an impact on the economy of the sub-region, and the more we take measures that restrict economic activities, the graver the effect of the economy on our country is going to be.”

He said as Chairman of the West African regional body ECOWAS, he has received a lot of response and promises of resources but pointed out that those resources are very slow in coming. “I have spoken to the Secretary General of the UN and offered that we use Accra as a center for handling logistics and personnel into your countries. The Secretary General accepted, and I know that the process is on,” Pres. Mahama further disclosed.

Among other things, Mr. Mahama said his country stands in solidarity with the people of Liberia and believe that sooner rather than later, as predicted by some, the deadly disease will be brought under control.

Earlier, President Sirleaf lauded President Mahama for his visit at the time Liberia is going through a period of difficulties. Madam Sirleaf praised the ECOWAS Chairman for being in solidary with Liberia when the country is being devastated by the deadly Ebola virus.

“We thank you for your personal visit which follows the telephone conversations I have had with you; we thank you for your support and encouragement you have given to us in our conversation; we will always remember that you stood by us in our times of need,” President Sirleaf said.