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US, Norway step up support to W/Africa

The Governments of the United States of America and Norway have stepped up financial support towards the Ebola fight in West Africa, in addition to already announced logistical and humanitarian support.

USAID Administrator Mr. Rajiv Shah (L) Norwegian Foreign Minister Mr. Borge Brende (R)

The US Tuesday announced its commitment of more than $400 million to West Africa, while its Norwegian counterpart committed $15 million dollars to Liberia, in addition to its previous pledge of US$16 million dollars support.

Following a meeting with President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf ahead of a joint press conference on Tuesday, 14 October, the USAID Administrator Mr. Rajiv Shah told reporters in the Foyer of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Monrovia that “we had a very productive conversation.”

As per US President Barrack Obama’s directive, Mr. Shah said the US is committing more than $400 Million dollars to stop the Ebola epidemic in West Africa, in addition to commuting more than 600 US Government personnel led by the Disaster Assistance Response Team on the ground in West Africa.

He said the team in West Africa also includes the US military personnel and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, “making this the largest ever CDC’s effort to fight disease outside the United States.”

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He said a very effective and coordinating international response led by the government of Liberia was touched in the meeting with President Sirleaf Tuesday. Presently, he says the US is enabling the construction of 17 Ebola Treatment Units and building a high quality 25-bed protocol care hospital, staffed by US medical professionals to treat all Ebola [infected] health care workers.

He further told reporters that the US is also supporting Community Care Centers, burial teams and community mobilization messages across the country. In support of these efforts, he announced an additional US$142 Million dollars of support from the United States for the fight against Ebola in West Africa.

He says this will include nearly $65m focused on Liberia… to enable the rapid construction of Ebola Treatment Units, health expense, critical training for health care workers, among others.

Finally, he says the United States will in addition provide US$5 Million dollars directly to the Government of Liberia to support the government’s plan as it is determined to support health care workers to have their needs to be effective during this critical time. Norwegian Foreign Minister Mr. Borge Brende announced in Monrovia yesterday a US$15 million dollars support to support WHO’s road map to contain Ebola in Liberia.

He announced that 160 Norwegian doctors and nurses are willing to be deployed in Liberia, Sierra Leone in support of the Ebola fight in West Africa. Besides the human and financial support, he said Norway will also make available logistical support, as he acknowledged that the Ebola outbreak is “not an issue for Liberia; it is an issue for the world” and a global responsibility.

President Sirleaf thanked the two guests and their governments for their support to Liberia not only during the time of the country’s Ebola fight, but for the long term as Liberia rebuilds its health delivery system and the economy for sustained growth and development.

“We agree on the need to continue to increase the pace of the response, building and staffing treatment centers, and building community care centers thereby encouraging behavioral change through community outreach and ownership,” said President Sirleaf.

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