Liberia’s Foreign Minister Augustine Kpehe Ngafuan says the country has been left with inadequate resources, time and personnel to attend to other routine illnesses like malaria, typhoid fever and measles, thereby causing many more tangential deaths.
Addressing the UN General Assembly on Monday, 29 September in New York, the Foreign Minister said Ebola has killed 1,800 victims with nearly 3,500 infected here, despite measures taken by government, including a state of emergency, suspension of schools and involving all stakeholders into the anti-Ebola fight.
“We have also committed and will continue to commit significant portions of our own paltry resources to the fight,” said Mr. Ngafuan.
He told the world body that cumulatively, women, constituting a majority of Liberia’s health workforce and being the main caregivers in the nation’s deeply traditional society, have been disproportionately affected.
“Sadly, as Ebola widens its deadly circumference, it is creating a trail of traumatized orphans across the country, which includes that ten-year old kid from Barkedu, Lofa County, who is the last person standing in a family of twelve,” he said.
With 89 deaths out of 182 health workers infected with Ebola, Mr. Ngafuan said the resultant panic has… precipitated the closure of many health facilities across the country due to fear among health workers.
“As we and our many international partners struggle to douse the wildfire caused by Ebola, we have been left with inadequate resources, time and personnel to attend to other routine illnesses like malaria, typhoid fever and measles, thereby causing many more tangential deaths,” he said.
He said Liberia’s public health system which totally collapsed during years of conflict and was being gradually rebuilt, has relapsed under the weight of the deadly virus.
Additionally, the former Finance Minister of President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf’s first term, Mr. Ngafuan said on the economic front, the crisis here has occasioned a 3.4% downward slide in economic growth, from a high of 5.9% to a low of 2.5% in 2014. Referencing experts’ prediction, Mr. Ngafuan warned that Ebola could cause a 12% decline in Liberia’s economy in 2015 “…if not contained quickly.”
He told the UN General Assembly that domestic food production, mining, transport services, the construction and hospitality industries, trade and many other productive components of Liberia’s economy have all registered significant reversals.
Finally, he alerted the world body that concessionaires have scaled down their operations, causing a large contingent of expatriates to leave the country.
“As a result of the slowdown in economic activities, our revenue generation capacity has been seriously undermined resulting in a nearly 20% downward revision of our budget for Fiscal Year 2014/2015,” he concluded.