President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf
Pres. Sirleaf Urges Long-Term Investment In Health Sector
MONROVIA, October 20 (LINA) - President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has observed that stopping Ebola is Liberia’s immediate priority, but the country needs long-term investment to build its health systems to “prevent outbreaks of this scale from ever happening again.”
She said it is “worrisome” that while all attention is on the Ebola virus, setting in is the malaria season and the routine immunization programs have been stopped.
The Liberian leader’s concerns were contained in her article written to the Washington Post on Monday titled: The long-term cure for Ebola: An investment in health systems.
“We will be reliant upon assistance from partners such as the United States and Britain, and global health organizations such as the World Health Organization, UNICEF and GAVI, to help rebuild our health systems, invest in health facilities, staff and equipment and restore immunization levels,” Pres. Sirleaf said.
“It’s not just Liberia,” she noted, adding that “any African nation with a fragile health system is potentially vulnerable to this terrible disease. After all, infectious disease knows no borders.”
She continued: “A country that never before had an incidence of Ebola, we were utterly ill-equipped and unprepared.”
She observes that “what is so tragic is that, until this outbreak, Liberia had made significant progress in building up its public health systems.”
“With help from organizations such as GAVI, the Vaccine Alliance, we have reduced childhood mortality by two-thirds since 1990, thanks largely to expansive immunization programs,” Pres. Sirleaf averred.
The article continues, “with Ebola having claimed the lives of 96 of our health workers and infected more than 209 others, recovering is going to be hard, stressing that this is a huge hit for a country that had barely 50 doctors to care for a population of 4.4 million at the start of this outbreak.”