31 July 2014

Liberia: President Sirleaf Off to Conakry, Guinea for One-Day Mano River Union Summit Friday - WHO Director-General Margaret Chan Will Be in Attendance

President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf departs the country early Friday morning, August 1, 2014 to participate in a one-day Summit of Heads of State and Government of the Mano River Union (MRU) in the Guinean capital, Conakry.

According to an Executive Mansion release, President Sirleaf, Sierra Leonean President, Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma and host President, Dr. Alpha Conte, who also chairs the Union, will exchange experiences and views as to how to combat the deadly Ebola Viral Disease that is ravaging the three countries.

They will be joined by the Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO), Margaret Chan, who will launch a new joint US$100 million response plan as part of an intensified international, regional and national campaign to bring the outbreak under control.

"The scale of the Ebola outbreak, and the persistent threat it poses, requires WHO and Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone to take the response to a new level, and this will require increased resources, in-country medical expertise, regional preparedness and coordination," the WHO Director-General has said, adding, "The countries have identified what they need, and WHO is reaching out to the international community to drive the response plan forward."

The Ebola Viral Disease Outbreak Plan for the sub-region has identified the need for several hundred more personnel to be deployed in the affected countries to supplement overstretched treatment facilities. Of greatest need are clinical doctors and nurses, epidemiologists, social mobilization experts, logisticians and data managers. The plan also outlines the need to increase preparedness systems in neighboring nations and strengthen global capacities.

Hundreds of international aid workers, as well as over 120 WHO staff, are already supporting national and regional response efforts; but more are urgently required.

The Ministers of Health and Social Welfare, Foreign Affairs, National Defense, Internal Affairs, and Information, Culture and Tourism accompanied the Liberian leader.

She is expected back late Friday afternoon.

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