As international efforts intensify, with calls from world leaders to galvanize support to sustain the anti-Ebola war, which has already claimed nearly 3,000 lives in the West African Region, Global Coca-Cola’s Executive Vice President and Chief Administrative Officer (CAO), Mr. Alexander B. Cummings, Jr. over the weekend led a high power delegation to Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone on a solidarity visit. Addressing journalists at the Liberia Coca-Cola Bottling Company (LCCBC) in Paynesville shortly upon arrival from the Roberts International Airport (RIA), Mr. Cummings who led the 7-man delegation disclosed that the team was in the country to demonstrate solidarity and support for Liberia. “We are here to show solidarity and support to Liberia and our employees. You can know your friends in times of trouble. These times, are being challenging times for Liberia and our employees. So, our visit here is to show our support and solidarity.”
Mr. Cummings declared that the Company would continue to stand by Liberia despite the Ebola crisis by increasing investment to boost the country’s economy, although he acknowledged the impact of the Ebola situation on the operation of the Coca-Cola Company since its outbreak.
However, the Coca-Cola Executive Vice President and Chief Administrative Officer, Mr. Cummings, was very optimistic and consoled Liberians that the country would prevail in the anti-Ebola war.
Meanwhile, Mr. Cummings revealed that the company was in readiness to increase its operation in Liberia by investing over US$4 million to open another line of plant which according to him, would produce soft drinks and mineral water in plastic, amongst others, something according to him, would help to create more jobs for Liberians and boost the country’s economy.
The delegation also met with President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf at her Foreign Ministry office before departing Liberia for Guinea and Sierra Leone.
Since the outbreak of the virulent Ebola virus, the Coca-Cola Family has made and continues to make tremendous contributions in an effort to defeat the deadly virus and save lives. As initial efforts towards the fight, the Company through its Liberia branch, the Liberia Coca-Cola Bottling Company (LCCBC), amongst other things provided cash, water and anti-Ebola sanitizing materials, as part of effort to eradicate the killer disease and help those who have already contracted the virus and undergoing treatment.
The Company initially distributed 22,800 bottles of mineral water in some affected communities and health centers, including ELWA and JFK hospitals, Dolo Town, Margibi County, West Point, Montserrado County and Foya, Lofa County, valued at US$10, 450.00
In addition, the company has provided 25 pieces of thermometers to few health centers and hospitals, including S.D Cooper Clinic, Benson Hospital, James Davis, Redemption, SOS and Dr. Swaray medical center in Paynesville, amongst others.
Others items distributed by the LCCBC include, 450 giant-size containers and buckets to help in the fight against the alarming deadly plague which has kept the nation in perpetual terror since its outbreak few months ago.
The company has also deposited US$2,000.00 cash into the anti-Ebola Trust Fund at the Central Bank of Liberia, the total amount spent in the entire process is put at over US$13,500.00.
In continuation of such effort, the Coca-Cola Company in Liberia, together with its bottling partner, Equatorial Coca-Cola Bottling Company (ECCBC), on Tuesday, September 16, 2014, presented additional medical supplies to the Ministry of Health in the amount of US$48,000.00.
The supplies, which were requested by local hospitals, according the Company, included personal protective equipment, such as latex gloves, gowns, face shields, face masks and shoe covers.
Making the presentation to the National Taskforce on Ebola, the Human Resource Manager of the Liberia Coca-Cola Bottling Company (LCCBC), Atty. Gabriel A. Johnson said, “the immediate delivery of these supplies is critical in protecting the health workers who can help to slow the spread of this disease but this is just the first shipment.”
Atty. Johnson added that, following the first air-shipment, the LCCBC and its partner, ECCBC had ordered two more forty-foot containers of medical supplies. “The Coca-Cola Company has provided $200,000 through its Africa Foundation to procure medical equipment and supplies to support the efforts to contain the Ebola outbreak in Liberia, Guinea, Sierra Leone and Nigeria”, he disclosed.
Over the past 4 years, The Coca-Cola Africa Foundation has donated over $2million worth of medical equipment to countries across Africa, including Liberia, Guinea, Sierra Leone, Ghana, Nigeria, Gambia and many others.