President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf
Pres. Sirleaf Sees Reversal Of Child, Maternal Mortality Gains
By Prince Nagbe
MONROVIA, September 26 (LINA) - President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has said the resultant effect of the Ebola virus epidemic will be a reversal of the gains Liberia has made in malaria, child and maternal mortality.
She indicated that Liberia is today facing the greatest challenge in its history because it cannot allow the projection of a worst case scenario that over 100,000 innocent citizens will die from an Ebola disease they did not start and do not understand.
President Sirleaf made the statement when she addressed world leaders at a High-Level Meeting on Response to the Ebola virus disease outbreak in the sub-region held at the United Nations Headquarters in New York via video link in Monrovia on Thursday.
She said as a consequence of the disease, livelihoods are being threatened and that there has been a swift decline in economic activities, loss of income and jobs, deterioration in health services, increase in prices of basic commodities and the limitation in free movement.
President Sirleaf told world leaders at the meeting that “based on understandable fear of the virus, partners and friends 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 said the deadly Ebola virus disease has so far taken the lives of over 1,700 persons, including 85 trained health workers.
She, however, pointed out that with the support of many partners, Liberia is fighting to stop the spread of the virus, adding, “We are intensifying our response, building and staffing more treatment centers across the country, moving more aggressively to prevent transmission and changing behavior through community outreach and ownership programs.”
President Sirleaf said Liberians have proudly developed “a resilient spirit of overcoming great tragedies” and with the help of its partners they are poised to do so once again.
“I 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 added.
The meeting, which was held under the leadership of United Nations Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, was also attended by world leaders including U.S President Barrack Obama, World Health Organization (WHO) 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.
Commenting earlier at the High-level Meeting, U.S. President Barrack Obama, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, WHO Director-General Margaret Chan, 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 organization to remove red tapes in their processes to respond quickly and urgently to the epidemic.
The World Bank committed an additional US$400 million to the fight against the disease and urged the world to unite in the fight to defeat the spread of the virus.
Guinean President Alpha Conde and Sierra Leonean President Ernest Bai Koroma joined President Sirleaf to call for a united global action to bring the world’s deadliest outbreak to a quick end and prevent thousands of innocent men, women and children from dying.