The “Ebola: from emergency to recovery” conference kicked off in the Belgium capital, Brussels, Tuesday, under the organization and patronage of the European Union.
A press release issued in Monrovia says while international efforts have reduced the number of Ebola infections in recent months, it is critical to maintain the momentum to prevent a sharp increase in new cases.
It noted that the conference aims to sustain the international mobilization and to plan the next steps in the fight both against the current outbreak and the Ebola virus in general.
The Ebola conference is co-chaired by the European Union, President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf of Liberia and the Presidents of Guinea and Sierra Leone, the United Nations, the African Union and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).
It brings together all key international players to prepare the actions needed now to bring the number of Ebola infections down to zero – and the measures to help the affected countries recover from the severe blows that the epidemic has dealt their people and economies.
The President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Junker said: “Го end Ebola and ensure sustainable development in the affected region is the best way to honour the memory of the victims. I would also like to pay tribute to all those who have been involved in the outbreak response with expertise, dedication and courage. Together with our Member States, we have mobilized more than €1.2 billion for the fight against this disease. And we will continue to help until we win the battle against Ebola”.
EU High Representative/Vice-President, Federica Mogherini, stressed “Ebola is a challenge that we must continue to tackle collectively, quickly and for the long term, also to help make sure that no other epidemic will have such a devastating impact in the future. Today is the time to do so: we have the opportunity and the responsibility to be effective in our development aid, to promote good governance and invigorate regional cooperation. With its political, diplomatic, humanitarian and financial tools, the EU is part of the solution and a partner”.
Tuesday’s conference reviewed progress and outlined concrete steps to ensure funds already pledged are made available and maintain international support to medical teams, laboratories, epidemiologist, research effort and other resources until there are no cases of Ebola.
Priority areas for recovery include resuming and improving basic services (health, education, water, sanitation) and the need to return to sustainable economic development.
At the conference, the governments of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone presented their assessments and plans for national recovery, the release said.