President Ellen Johnson – Sirleaf says “we know that there exists a risk that it [Ebola] could return as the records have shown all over the world”, citing “many useful lessons” learned from the Ebola epidemics here.
But Mrs. Sirleaf told a post – Ebola High Level meeting in Monrovia graced by Togolese President and ECOWAS Ebola Coordinator Mr. Foure Ngasima on Wednesday, 12 April that the worst affected countries know that they must continue to make investments in their health systems and not to ignore the momentum of their efforts.
Mr. Foure who also delivered a statement in French at the West African Health Organization or WAHO meeting in Monrovia, played a key role as ECOWAS Ebola coordinator, advocating for support from the rest of the world and kept his colleagues informed of the status quo about the
fight of the disease.
WAHO Director General Mr. Xavi Crispin warned at the meeting that the virus “is believed to have the ability to hide in the body” of Ebola survivor for a long period of time, only to become active months or years later.
As part of lessons learned from the Ebola fight, President Sirleaf says no matter what system or drugs are applied to treat the virus, nothing can replace community development in the fight of the disease.
“And so we applaud our citizens in the communities that took the first steps to respond, that served as the ones that kept us informed of the happenings in their communities and to also be willing to go out and to help us fight”, she says.
Mrs. Sirleaf observes that while the epidemic raised serious question about “our” preparedness and response capacity at country and regional levels, it also demonstrated the resilience and determination of the people of Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone to put up a massive … effort to return to normalcy.
Though she acknowledged the World Health Organization or WHO’s “great support” given to aid the fight against Ebola, Mrs. Sirleaf however says “we” challenged the WHO’s prediction.
She says as a result of ECOWAS’ effort in reaching out, “we” saw many young African citizens and others from as far as Cuba, joining efforts to help fight against the disease in the region.
Having faced the wrath of Ebola, the ECWOAS Chair boasts that the three worst affected countries have put in place resilient response systems that can withstand any outbreak.
“However, designing a system is just the first step. We know that we must make these systems sustainable, functional if we are going to ensure that our prevention is secured”, she says.
The President of the ECOWAS Commission Marcel Alain de Souza, Director General of WAHO Xavi Crispin and ECOWAS ministers were at the event. Sierra Leonean Health Minister Mr. Abubaka Fofana says maintenance of global health security is a collective effort, saying it cannot be achieved in one country without a significant collaboration in the next country.
He pledged Sierra Leone’s continued collaboration at all levels to consolidate “our gains” to provide a prosperous and healthy life for the people of the region.
By Winston W. Parley-Edited By Othello B. Garblah