President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf
Community Ownership and Mobilization Inspired the Fight Against
Ebola,’ President Sirleaf Tells HLP on Global Response to Health Care
MONROVIA, August 7 (LINA)-President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf says community ownership and effective mobilization emerged as the fulcrum of Liberia’s unique experience in dealing squarely with the unknown enemy Ebola.
According to an Executive Mansion release, the Liberian leader made the observation Thursday in the cabinet room at her temporary office at the Foreign Ministry when she hosted the United Nations High Level Panel (HLP) on the Global Response to Health Crises established by UN Secretary General in April 2015.
The HLP visiting delegation led by the former President of Switzerland, Ms. Micheline Calmy-Rey; former Minister of Foreign Affairs of Indonesia, Ms. Marty Natalegawa; Executive Secretary of the African Leaders Malaria Alliance, Joy Phumaphi; former Administrator of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Dr. Rajiv Shah; and UN Resident Coordinator-OIC-UNMIL, Mr. Antonio Vigilante held the bilateral meeting with President Johnson Sirleaf.
The Liberia leader noted that although some gains have been made in the area of reducing infant mortality and other infectious diseases such as TB, the outbreak revealed critical gaps that need to be urgently addressed.
She said the country’s own capacity was centralized coupled with the lack of knowledge and stressed the significance of restructuring the level or coordination and mechanism to ensure the desired results.
President Sirleaf then called for partnership to build viable response mechanisms at the community level, train health care workers that would be available to professionally manage mainly rural health facilities and provide quality service delivery to the people.
She however underscored the urgency to train healthcare workers who would serve as ‘first responders’ not necessarily in the event of an
outbreak but with the capacity to provide health care for preventable
and treatable cases at the community level.
She said it was important to forge regional and continental collaboration for experience sharing and learning, and praised the vibrancy of the community as well as the overall leadership and technical expertise the Incident Management System (IMS) brought to bear that culminated into improved coordination in the collective fight against the outbreak.
Earlier, the head of UN High Level Panel visiting delegation and former President of Switzerland, Ms. Micheline Calmy-Rey informed the meeting that three critical priority areas, namely Financing, Surveillance, with emphasis on the community and national levels and affordability as well as accessibility informed the HLP mission to the worst affected regions of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.
Chaired by the President of the United Republic of Tanzania, Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete, the Panel is expected to make recommendations with a view to strengthening national and international systems to prevent and manage future health crises, taking into account lessons learnt From the response to the outbreak of the Ebola virus.
The visiting HLP delegation also met the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL), the private sector, civil society and international partners.