The United States Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power, says the U.S. is beginning to “see results in Liberia”, acknowledging a change in some traditional practices here.
“We have seen safe burials occurred at a much higher percentage than occurred in the early months of this crisis”, Ambassador Power observed when she climaxed a visit Tuesday, 28 October to Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone, the three most Ebola affected countries.
On behalf of President Barrack Obama and the People of America, Ambassador Power commits U.S.’ readiness to work with Liberia in ensuring the country gets back on track, expressing confidence that “we will beat” the Ebola virus.
She said Liberia has come through many difficult chapters in its history, and the U.S. knows the track and the course Liberia was on before the Ebola outbreak.
Having visited Bong County, where a mobile lab is being operated, Madam Power observed that it now takes less than five hours to get results from samples, unlike in the past when it took as long as five days to transport Ebola samples to Monrovia before getting result.
“While those samples were moving and those five days were passing, Liberians were just waiting to know their fate; and that meant the people with the Ebola were intermingling with people, who might have malaria or some other illness.
“And that was infection control issue. Now with the one mobile lab, it’s possible to get results not in five days, but in less than five hours. And that allows people, who do not have Ebola, to move out of Ebola Treatment Units and others who may be at risk, moving in,” she said.
She said the U.S. has deployed its military, and nearly a thousand troops, including several NGOs on the ground that are teaming up with experts from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to help Liberia in the fight here.
In response, President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf stressed the need for the international community to recognize progress being made by the affected countries and be able to join in the partnership to make sure that there is full containment of the Ebola virus.
“…That’s the only way to ensure the safety of our one world. It’s by working that we all do what we can to eradicate this virus, not only from these countries, but from the world,” the Liberian leader said.
She hopes that the international community will continue to see the crisis here as a global threat, and that stigmatization, exclusion and restriction are not the appropriate response.
President Sirleaf thanked Ambassador Power for the support Liberia receives from the Security Council generally in promoting the country’s development in the peacekeeping mission here and training the security services, among others.
The President also acknowledged the Ambassador’s most recent role and the US government’s support to Liberia’s effort to the fight against Ebola, saying, “And because of this, today we can say that we are the little more confident that we have the results from all of the partnerships and the cooperative effort that has existed.”
“…Starting to see some progress in Liberia”- Obama
United States President Barrack Obama, one of the key crusaders in the fight against Ebola here and the sub-region has acknowledged the progress being made here so far to contain the virus.
Obama told reporters in the U.S. Tuesday that there was good news emerging from Liberia, where the U.S. military forces have been deployed on the ground to assist with the response. “The good news is it’s starting to have an impact,” he said. “They’re starting to see some progress in Liberia.”
Obama who was said to be speaking just before departing White House for a campaign trip in Wisconsin, delivered what is described to be an implicit rebuke to states that have imposed strict Ebola quarantine rules Tuesday, warning they could undermine American efforts to counteract the spread of the virus.
He said the “disease can be contained—it will be defeated,” noting progress has already been made by U.S. military forces on the ground in West Africa assisting with the response.
Obama’s comments were his first public remarks on the disease since the governors of New York, New Jersey and other states imposed strict quarantine rules Friday, before rolling them back under public pressure last week. Obama said the quarantine rules would provide a disincentive for American health workers to volunteer in West Africa where they are sorely needed.
He added he plans to meet with healthcare workers at the White House on Wednesday who have returned from West Africa, as well as those who are about to depart to fight the disease. “We don’t want to discourage our health care workers from going to the frontlines,” Obama said. “They are doing God’s work over there, and they are doing it to keep us safe.”
After the states took action above and beyond the guidelines set by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Obama cautioned against acting out of fear instead of science. “We don’t just react based on our fears, we react based on facts and judgment and making smart decisions,” he said, in a critique of the governors. “We’re going to have to stay vigilant here at home until we stop the outbreak at its source,” Obama added.