PRESIDENT ELLEN JOHNSON Sirleaf, on Thursday, September 25, joined world leaders at the United Nations Headquarters in New York to participate in a High-Level Meeting on Response to the Ebola virus outbreak in the sub-region. The Liberian leader who joined the High Level Meeting, via a video link from the Monrovia office of the African Development Bank (AfDB), informed world leaders that Liberia today is faced with the greatest challenge because it cannot allow the projection of a worst case scenario that over 100,000 innocent citizens will die from an invisible disease they did not start and do not understand. She stressed that the resulting effect of this epidemic will reverse the gains in malaria, child and maternal mortality.
THE MEETING, HELD under the leadership of the United Nations Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, also had in attendance the United States President Barrack Obama, World Health Organization Director-General Dr. Margaret Chan, World Bank President, Dr. Jim Kim, African Union Commission Chairperson, Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini- Zuma, Guinean President, Dr. Alpha Conde, Sierra Leonean President, Ernest Bai Koroma, among others.
PRESIDENT SIRLEAF SAID the deadly Ebola virus disease has so far taken the lives of over 1,700 persons including 85 of those trained to save lives. She indicated that as a consequence of the disease, livelihoods are being threatened and there has become a precipitous decline in economic activities, loss of income and jobs, health services have deteriorated, prices of basic commodities have increased and there is limitation in free movement.
“PARTNERS AND FRIENDS, based on understandable fear, have ostracized us; shipping and airline services have sanctioned us; and the world has taken some time to fully appreciate and adequately respond to the enormity of our tragedy,” President Sirleaf emphasized. She told the High-Level Meeting that Liberia is fighting with the support of many of its partners; adding that the country is intensifying its response, building and staffing more treatment centers across the country and moving more aggressively to prevent the transmission and change in behavior through community outreach and ownership programmes.
PRESIDENT SIRLEAF SAID Liberians have proudly developed a resilient spirit of overcoming great tragedies and with the help of its partners is poised to do so once again. “We thank many of you around this table who have joined in the fight; partners who through robust response have given us renewed trust in the value of partnership; partners who have given us renewed hope in a bright future for our children,” she noted.
SHE TOLD THE world that not long ago Liberia was the epicenter of a regional war by which it experienced the total economic collapse and massive destruction of infrastructure and institutions, adding that the country has faced many challenges in its historical journey.
IN SEPARATE STATEMENTS earlier, U.S. President Barrack Obama, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, WHO Director-General MargaretChan, World Bank President Jim Kim and AU Commission Chairperson Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma said the world needs to act and act very quickly to address the Ebola epidemic plaguing the West African sub-region. They indicated that the world has not done enough to contain the further spread of the virus and urged countries and international organizations to remove red tapes in their processes to respond quickly and urgently to the epidemic.
WE WELCOME THE advocacy proffered by President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf at the World body relative to Liberia’s fight against the Ebola virus. We also appreciate the good sentiments expressed and moves taken by world leaders on the fight against the virus. What we desire more now is to act quickly and save mankind from further elimination because it is an open secret that Ebola wastes no time in destroying families, communities and people at large.
IT IS IN this vein that we are calling on the world to continue doing what they are doing by speeding up Global approach needed to fight Ebola and help the affected countries survive the disease. Even after this disease shall have been history, we will still need the financial, moral and social support of the World to fully recover from the loss we have encountered. Indeed we need a continuous global approach which will speed up the promises and pledges coming in to help fight this menace.
AT THE SAME time, we must have a change of attitude, behavior and help ourselves while others are reaching out to help us conquer the EVD. We must observe all measures being put in place by the Ministry of Health and our partners to defeat the virus while it is time to stop doubting and do things that are of reality if Ebola must indeed go away.