President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf
Pres. Sirleaf Says Ebola Exposed Liberia’s Weak Health System
MONROVIA, September 28 (LINA) - President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has admitted that the Ebola virus disease was a wake-up call for Liberia that its health system, including primary healthcare, was weak and needed more attention.
“Ebola exposed the deficiencies and weaknesses of our healthcare system. Strengthening primary healthcare with focus on controlling prevalent diseases, like malaria, cholera, is a critical priority along with the training of communities as first responders in containing outbreaks in the future; be it Ebola or other diseases unknown at present,” she stressed.
According to a dispatch from New York, President Sirleaf made the comments at a major side event on the margins of the UN General Assembly focused on “Securing a Healthy Future – Building Resilient Health Systems to Fight Epidemics and Ensure Healthy Lives” at the Westin New York Grand Central, Madison Ball Room on Saturday, September 26.
She joined several world leaders, including U. N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg, Ghanaian President John Mahama, and Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete, among others.
President Sirleaf indicated that Liberia made particular progress in controlling maternal mortality, infant mortality, and HIV/AIDS in the implementation of the Millennium Development Goals, which will now be replaced with the 2030 Global Agenda which contains 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and 169 targets.
She reflected on the conflict that kept many things backwards, including the healthcare system, and assured that her government is committed to building a resilient healthcare system consistent with the country’s development agenda and the SDGs which have just been adopted by world leaders at the United Nations General Assembly.
Speaking earlier, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon reflected on the Ebola crisis that hit Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone, pronouncing that Liberia has defeated the virus, while Guinea and Sierra Leone are reporting very few cases.
He praised President Sirleaf and other leaders for their decisive leadership in managing the Ebola crisis with local and international support.
Mr. Ban indicated that the world must remain vigilant for future outbreaks and expressed gratefulness for the support received during the Ebola situation.
“Though we may not know from when, where and at what time, the world must also expect new outbreaks of diseases and a strengthened healthcare system is key to confronting such anticipated outbreak. A clear roadmap with clear thematic priorities towards building resilient healthcare system is required,” he pointed out.
The UN Secretary General said it was “a good thing” that African leaders have advanced the creation of an African Center for Diseases Control and Prevention, noting that the launch of the SDGs is a reminder about the need to build strong healthcare systems in the world.