Ellen Hails Outgoing UN Rep on Ebola

President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has described the work of outgoing Special Representative of the Secretary General and Head of the United Nations Mission for Ebola Emergency Response or UNMEER, Anthony Banbury, as excellent and very supportive of the country's fight to contain the deadly Ebola virus disease.

President Sirleaf made the recognition Tuesday, during a meeting between her and the new Special Representative of the Secretary General and Head of the United Nations Mission for Ebola Emergency Response or UNMEER, Mr. Ismail OuldCheikh Ahmed in Monrovia.

Mr. Ahmed- a Mauritanian replaces Mr. Anthony Banbury who ended his tour of duty last weekend.

“Your predecessor effectively spearheaded the operations of UNMEER with huge progress. Even though the country still has a lot to be done with regards to Ebola, much was achieved with the assistance and cooperation of UNMEER,” President Sirleaf indicated, while welcoming the new UNMEER Chief to Liberia during a courtesy call on her at her Foreign Ministry Office on Capitol Hill.

She pledged the  Liberian government's support to the transitional process in UNMEER, emphasizing the need for improved and strengthened regional collaboration and cooperation in the continued fight against the further spread of the deadly Ebola virus disease.

The president named exchange of information, experiences and best practices as important elements required to enhance regional cooperation and collaboration in the Ebola fight.

She acknowledged that some level of regional collaboration was already taking place, but still below the level it ought to be, stressing that the regional dimension of the virus makes it difficult for progress to be made in one country without the corresponding progress in the others.

Also speaking, the new head of UNMEER, Ismail OuldCheikh Ahmed, expressed appreciation for the leadership and commitment of the Liberian Government which, he considered, the main factor responsible for the level of progress made in Liberia's fight against the further spread of the Ebola virus disease.

Mr. Ahmed  noted that the mechanism for coordination may not be perfect, but has impacted the Ebola fight in Liberia and the region very efficiently, indicating that UNMEER will also focus on helping the government reactivate the educational system and declared the mission's support to the back to school effort.

He, however, warned that appropriate measures and processes be put in place to protect both the students and staff, as Ebola was still active in Liberia.

Mr. Ahmed was accompanied by the Secretary General's Special Representative of the UN Mission in Liberia, Karin Landgren; UN Ebola Envoy David Nabarro; and Mr. Peter Graff, while Health Minister, Dr. Walter Gwenegalie, Minister of State Without Portfolio Sylvester Grigsby and Dr. Emmanuel Dolo were also in attendance.

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