President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf has expressed delight that a regional program is being put in place to establish “a joint- border- surveillance facility” among the borders of Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone that can be shared for effective response against a reoccurrence of the Ebola in Liberia.
“But we want to make sure that the other two countries are also… and I’m very pleased that they too are beginning to show great improvement and they too are looking forward to the countdown that will lead them also to Ebola free,” she said.
The Liberia leader spoke Wednesday, June 3 at her Ministry of Foreign Affairs Office after receiving a letter of credence from Great Britain’s Ambassador to Liberia, Mr. David Belgrove.
President Sirleaf said authorities are working with the regional program where the three countries will want to combine some efforts in a post-Ebola recovery effort, particularly for exchanges of talents and experiences or have “a joint border surveillance facility.”
In addition to the border surveillance program, she further disclosed each of these states are rebuilding their respective national health care system, appreciating partners’ support to making sure that infection control and responses are part of “our” health systems.
But President Sirleaf noted that the problem in Liberia now is the scarcity of health professionals, though she said training and recruitment of doctors were in the interim to help strengthen the system.
The Liberian leader thanked Great Britain for its support to Liberia and the affected states, recalling that US$1billion had been directed all together in assistance to the sub-region.
She also acknowledged the role played by the UK charity Save the Children, and thanked the United Kingdom for the support received; particularly to Sierra Leone because both nations see themselves as part of the same, even though Liberia is declared Ebola freed.
Commenting on the impact of Ebola here, she informed Ambassador Belgrove that Liberia’s economy was hard hit during the Ebola crisis, and that it would be though, now that the country has begun a process of rebuilding after the crisis.
Due to global price decline, President Sirleaf said Liberia’s two major exports – rubber and iron ore – have been affected long before Ebola came, leading to reduction in government targets.
But she said the country is now trying to be strong on economic diversification, and it’s looking for other areas where it can make up since rubber and iron ore prices have declined globally.
President Sirleaf told the British Ambassador that he has the chance to work with Liberia as she underscored the importance of investing in the private sector, emphasizing Liberia’s potential in the areas of agriculture where she says government needs to do more, and fisheries, among others.
She named education infrastructure and agriculture as key priorities, among others.
In response, Ambassador Belgrove said he agreed with President Sirleaf on the private sector, and assured her that he will work with the Government of Liberia.
Since the end of civil war here, Britain has accredited ambassador to Liberia with residence based in Accra, Ghana. By Winston W. Parley – Edited by Jonathan Browne