President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf
Pres. Sirleaf Says Ebola Victims Turned Victors
MONROVIA, March 2 (LINA) – President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has observed that credit for the successes made in bringing down the Ebola virus epidemic are not just for the leadership, but the people in the communities too.
“..It’s not just the leadership, it's also the people in the communities. They were the victims but they became the victors because they took responsibility,” she told the National Public Radio in an interview Monday on the program Morning Edition.
President Sirleaf spoke to NPR while in the U.S. on a three-day official visit during which she held talks with President Barack Obama, top U.S. officials and heads of non-governmental groups, expressing thanks for American support and partnership in curbing the Ebola Virus.
“We too, as a result of Ebola, had a re-energizing of ourselves. We saw a new opportunity to turn this crisis into something that will be good for the country. And it's not just the leadership, it's also the people in the communities,” she said.
Sirleaf said Liberia’s success has been heralded because predictions in October 2014 that by the end of January 2015 there will be 1.4 million people dead.
“That was a wake-up call for us, a call to action. Our people rose to that.”
The Liberian leader noted that the distrust of the government in the early stages of the Ebola outbreak was prompted by the fact that the disease was “an unknown enemy.”
“They expected that we knew the answer and that we would solve this right away. We did not have the answer. We did not know what to do. I was as fearful as anyone else in those early days of this epidemic,” she recalled.
“But I think we all finally realized that all of our lives were at stake. Everything we had worked for was at stake. That brought the coming together. I think by and large, Liberians are proud of themselves and of the unity as we fought this disease,” the president said.