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EU warns of other diseases

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The Managing Director for Crisis Response and Operational Coordinator at the European External Action Service, Agostino Miozzo, said other diseases, including diarrhea, typhoid and malaria, are prevalent in the sub-region besides the Ebola Virus Disease that has claimed thousands of lives.

Briefing reporters over the weekend in Monrovia, Mr. Miozzo, who is heading a high-level EU delegation is visiting the three Ebola- affected countries, Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone warned that if international response is only paid to Ebola, other emergencies could occur in coming months and people will continue to die from treatable diseases.

“We need to keep our vigilance on the entire health situation in the three affected countries and not just Ebola,” he urged. Managing Director Miozzo pointed to food security and education as equally important in the current Ebola crisis, which should be addressed at the same time because they go side by side. He said that food security is important and if attention is not paid to it, another problem will occur while trying to address one at a time.

He noted that schools are now closed in the midst of the Ebola crisis, and students are sitting down, which he lamented, is a bad sign for young people, who need to acquire education. Mr. Miozzo added that EU member countries are considering the need to scale up the quality and quantity of EU’s intervention in the Ebola crisis.

“We do not want to duplicate interventions. The purpose of the visit is to assess the interventions by international partners, including the United States; talk with them and know exactly what we at EU will be doing in the crisis. This is a regional crisis and we must take a regional approach because we cannot free one country and leave out the others.”

Mr. Miozzo said the EU cannot approach the situation as a single unit; it should be done comprehensively with other partners. He also reiterated EU’s opposition to isolation of nationals of Ebola-affected countries, saying, that those countries affected cannot be isolated. The disease, he said, is a virus that cannot stop because of isolation.

The EU Managing Director for Crisis Response and Operation did not comment on current information about decline in Ebola cases. However, he commended Liberians and the international community for their roles in responding to the crisis.

He said the EU sees more improvements in the Liberian Ebola response, describing it as “fantastic.” He then warned that Ebola has not totally left and even if cases dropped, people should always be careful because it can resurface at any time. Also attending the press conference was EU Delegation head, Ambassador Antillio Pacifici, and members of the visiting delegation.

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