Since the August 1, 2014 emergency meeting of Leaders of the Mano River Union in Conakry, Guinea, progress against the deadly Ebola virus disease has been very tremendous. Apparently, the meeting from which evolved a practical and holistic action plan may have just been a stimulus for such progress in the battle against the disease that has claimed more than 700 lives in West Africa, especially in Guinea, Liberian and Sierra Leone.
In the action plan, the three countries agreed to bolster efforts to prevent and detect suspected cases, ensure better border surveillance, and reinforce the World Health Organization’s sub-regional outbreak coordination center in Guinea. More encouraging was an appeal for US$100m by the Leaders of the three countries and Health Minister of La Cote D’Ivoire, who represented the Ivoirian Head of State at the MRU summit, to fully implement the action plan on Ebola.
As a result of the commitment practically shown by Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone towards efforts against the eradication and the spread of the deadly disease across the region, the World Bank has committed US$200m, while the United States will be deploying 50 public health experts to West Africa to buttress efforts already in the region to contain the outbreak.
While the World Bank and U.S Government must be hailed for such remarkable humanitarian intervention amid threats of the spread of the Ebola virus disease, homage must also be paid to Presidents Alpha Conde of Guinea, Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf of Liberia, Ernest Bai Koromah of Sierra Leone and Alhassan Watara of La Cote D’Ivoire for the initial commitment and actions that have now attracted international attention to the ‘war against Ebola’ in the region.
Had these initial actions, including the imposition of a state of emergency, border closure and suspension of all schools, as well as compulsory leave for government workers in Sierra Leone and Liberia to fast-track the battle against Ebola, the crisis would have been a catastrophe. These actions have further resulted to the positive impact being experienced in our various communities out of the awareness and sensitivity being executed among the population.
And if the millions that are coming for Ebola are not spent on too many “workshops and meetings”, but incentives, salaries and logistics include all of the protective gears for health workers and doctors, the life span of Ebola in the West African region would be very, very short. As we commend the governments of the Mano River Union for the steps taken thus far, the must also continue to sustain the fight against the Ebola virus without distractions now that the issue of denial is diminishing.