The Economic Community of West African States or ECOWAS has begun a two- day symposium in the Liberian capital, Monrovia.
President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has welcomed Liberia taking the lead to host the forum, stressing that the two days symposium by member states will help to improve the growth of the regional body in terms of problems solving.
Speaking Thursday, July 28, at the start of the symposium being held at the Monrovia City Hall in Sinkor, President Sirleaf said the purpose of the forum is to discuss critical issues about Africa, noting that it is a great honor for Liberia to have been selected among ECOWAS member states to host the post-Ebola exercise.
The Liberian leader described the forum as unique, because it provides an opportunity for the first time for state and non-state actors to come together, particularly from the Ebola-affected countries to share experiences on global response toward the epidemic.
She recalled that when the epidemic fight was officially declared in the three affected countries – Liberia Guinea, and Sierra Leone, several recommendations were advanced by governmental organizations and international partners in helping to combat the disease.
Madam Sirleaf stressed that to adhere to these recommendations in helping to find solution, there is need for African countries to unite, noting that with such a mindset, it will help to foster growth in Africa, lamenting “We feel the misery created by the Ebola Virus crisis.”
At the same time, President Sirleaf said the forum will serve as a basis to help prepare a pending ECOWAS meeting in October this year. She urged the Prime Minister of Togo to disseminate such information to his immediate boss Faure Essozimna Gnassingbe for his hard work during the heat of the Ebola Virus, including a visit to Liberia, which actually shows that he is a humanitarian leader.
President Sirleaf said discussions from the symposium will also help to further prevent any new outbreak of diseases in the future. Also speaking, an official of the U.S. Centre for Disease Control Desmond William recalled when the disease appeared in a village in Guinea, it subsequently spread to Sierra Leone and then Liberia.
Mr. William said the Ebola Virus Disease became a serious threat to the entire region, killing people and leaving thousands others vulnerable in the affected countries, something he described as sad.
He said the outbreak was unprecedented, disclosing that over 11,000 people died as a result of the deadly Ebola Virus, “something that we all need to remember and to others who have gone to the great beyond.”
The CDC official asserted that the Ebola Virus seriously waged war in terms of killing individuals due to the collapse of healthcare service delivery by affected countries, and even at that, it also devastated the economy, so the United States of America and other international partners immediately began supports to the affected countries to help mitigate the virus.
Mr. William however said in spite of the successes, there is lot to be done by standing vigilantly, learning and reviewing the Ebola response efforts in order to apply those experiences in the future.
By Zee Roberts-Editing by Jonathan Browne