The European Union Ebola Coordinator, Christos Stylianides, has warned Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea and his institution to remain on the alert, in spite of Ebola decline here. Following a meeting with President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf on Friday, November 14, 2014, the EU anti-Ebola envoy said there were some positive signals that the spread of the disease was retreating in some parts of Liberia.
He emphatically told reporters of clear indication here that “the Government of Liberia is doing a lot to stop the disease, but strongly warned that “it will be a mistake however” to relax [prevention measures].
“We must remain on the alert all of us – European Union, Government of Liberia and all three countries,” Mr. Stylianides said at a press stake out on Friday at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Monrovia.
He said Europe’s solidarity is real and tangible, a reason for which he said the EU delegation was here in Liberia, just from visiting Sierra Leone before it would go to Guinea, the three worst affected states. Mr. Stylianides told reporters that the EU presented to President Sirleaf what it has been doing to contain the Ebola disease here, and assured her that Liberians were not alone in the fight against Ebola.
He said the EU is here to listen and hear the concerns of the Liberian government and the President, and to assess the needs of the people for itself. He finally suggested that to successfully beat Ebola here, “we must work hand in hand.” Also Speaking, the EU’s Commissioner for Health and Food Safety, Mr. Vytenis Andriukaitis, said it was important to isolate the virus, and not infected people or countries.
Mr. Andriukaitis suggested that it was only cooperation and common action plan at community level; county level and state level that could solve the Ebola problems and get affected countries recover and restore the confidence of the people. Earlier, Liberia’s Foreign Minister, Augustine Ngafuan, said the European Union has for now and for years, been “the biggest provider of budget support to Liberia.”
He recalled that some few weeks ago, the EU announced a commitment of more than $1.2 Billion United States Dollars to Ebola response in three countries worst affected countries. “The European Union was with us before Ebola; and the European Union remains with us in spite of Ebola and the European Union has committed to remain with us after Ebola”, Mr. Ngafuan said.
The Liberian Foreign Minister praised the EU as “the only multi-lateral entity that has given us grant budget support hundred percent,” and announced that Liberia’s Finance and Development Planning Minister Amara Conneh was engaged with the EU “to front-load some of the support. As the Government plans post Ebola strategy, Mr. Ngafuan said President Sirleaf has stressed that government needs “more flexibility” as it deals with the crisis.
Already, Mr. Ngafuan says the Ministry of Health is completing a ten-year health delivery plan that government will need support for, and Liberia needs to have robust system that he says can withstand future outbreak of “not only Ebola, but any public health challenge.”
Mr. Ngafuan has notwithstanding expressed President Sirleaf’s appreciation to Liberians for their resilience, while also thanking partners from across the world that have come to join in the fight here.
He said some of Liberia’s partners were here before Ebola and some left because of Ebola, while others who were not here, came because of Ebola. The EU delegate is on a West African tour, and they made a stop to Liberia from Sierra Leone, before going over to Guinea – the three worst affected Ebola states here.