Liberian leader Ellen Johnson Sirleaf
Pres. Sirleaf’s ‘Letter To The World’ Replete With Thank You
MONROVIA, May 9 (LINA) – Liberian leader Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has expressed “profound relief and deep gratitude” that Liberia has received the official announcement from the World Health Organization that the country is Ebola free.
“For a country and a people that suffered through such trauma at the hands of this vile disease, this announcement is an important moment for all Liberians,” she said.
But the President warned that even as Liberians receive this exciting news, they know that the nation must remain vigilant, especially with improved surveillance and community alert programs, “we now have the capacity to deal quickly with any new cases, should they emerge.”
This is President Sirleaf’s second Letter To The World, the first being a passionate appeal to the world not to sit and watch the Ebola virus decimate Liberians and West Africans.
That letter became a more or less game changer in the world’s perception of the Ebola crisis and garnered massive intervention globallyto curb the spread of the virus.
“For the last year, our country, and our Mano River Union Sub-region, has endured a dark chapter in its history. From what started as a single case of Ebola in a forested area in Guinea, an unprecedented outbreak soon took hold throughout our three countries,’ she recalled.
Pres. Sirleaf observed that for Liberia, a country that had only emerged from a destructive civil war a decade ago, the rapid spread of Ebola became a crushing blow to the recovering hopes of a nation that was embarking on a new peaceful and prosperous journey.
“Clearly, the events of the last year must never be forgotten. At this symbolic juncture, I ask the whole world to remember the 4,608 Liberians who lost their lives, and the many thousands more who endured the horror of fighting the disease,” the President’s letter continued.
“We have lost good people – brave, hardworking and decent people – many of whom simply wanted to help a family member, a friend, and a neighbor who was in need. Whether they were farmers, market traders, teachers, students or health workers, each life was worth as much as the last and each loss is a tragedy. Their memories will live with us forever. And as a member of a global community, we ask that we never forget them,” she said.
She thanked the local volunteers who risked their lives to treat others, even when protective equipment was running short and remembered the 192 healthcare workers who made the ultimate sacrifice during the last year, adding “They are nothing less than heroes and heroines.”
She also thanked the international partners and donors whose assistance “helped to save lives and to end this disaster,” noting, “Truly, this was a combined effort on every level, from the local volunteers to our partners abroad. Indeed the fight back against Ebola got off to a slow start. But it demonstrated our capacity as a community of nations to focus our efforts on ending suffering, wherever it may exist, and when we are called upon to do so.”
President Sirleaf pointed out that it was the responsibility of leaders, in Africa and abroad, in government and in the private sector, to learn from this tragedy, and work together to stop this from ever happening again.
She observed that Liberia’s public healthcare systems were “simply not robust enough” to deal with a problem of this scale, pointing out that “We now must work tirelessly to improve them. That is the long-term cure for Ebola.”
She added: “We owe it to the next generation, throughout the developing world, to build health infrastructure that works – health care systems that won’t leave people suffering or dying in the streets.”
“This Ebola outbreak is a scar on the conscience of the world. For some, the pain and grief will take a generation to heal. Therefore, let today’s announcement be a call to arms – that we will build a better world for those Ebola could not reach; a world in which people can live in dignity and health. It is the least the memories of our dearly departed deserve, the President’s letter concluded.