17 April 2017

West Africa: EJS Recounts MRU Economic Gains

President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has acknowledged gains made by Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone on the economic front prior to the Ebola outbreak in 2014 that hit Southern Guinea and later spread to Liberia and Sierra Leone.

According to an Executive Mansion release, President Sirleaf was speaking Wednesday in Monrovia when she delivered a statement at the closing ceremony of a Three-day Regional and Targeted Actions of countries of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), especially those most affected by Ebola Virus Disease outbreak.

The regional meeting was aimed at preventing future outbreak of such infectious diseases in the region.

President Sirleaf said the outbreak taught Liberians many lessons, including dealing with the virus, combating it, and prevention, describing Ebola as "an enemy that no one could see, touch, feel, let alone fight."

President Sirleaf called on member States of the West African Health Organizations (WAHO) to find a way as to how medical experts can combat, control and prevent the disease in case our future outbreak.

The Liberia leader noted that the outbreak has taught leaders of the region and citizens lessons, ranging from individual to community engagement, strengthening of community and national health facilities.

Referring to health statistics, the President Sirleaf said the Ebola Virus Disease also took the lives of at least 11,300, while 17,000 suspected cases were identified.

She paid tribute to the role of President Faure Gnassingbé of Togo who was appointed by ECOWAS as Regional Coordinator for Ebola Response and Eradication tasked with mobilizing assistance from Member States in the region, the African Union, the World Health Organizations among others.

She hoped that the deliberations would help the sub-region in combating, controlling and preventing infectious diseases.

Speaking earlier, WAHO Director General Dr. Xavier Crispin welcomed the dignitaries and said the presence of Presidents Sirleaf and Togolese President Faure Gnassingbé as well as Special Envoys of Presidents Alpha Conde and Ernest Bai Koroma of Guinea and Sierra Leone respectively was a demonstration of commitment to free the region of infectious diseases.

Meanwhile, President Sirleaf and her Togolese counterpart paid a special visit to the ongoing ECOWAS Parliamentarian Conference convened in Monrovia, during which the Liberian leader congratulated the organizing committee of the delocalized meeting of the ECOWAS Parliament for their deliberations aimed at combating counterfeit drugs in the sub region.

In remarks, President Gnassingbé praised members of the ECOWAS Parliament for giving him the opportunity to speak during their meeting.

He assured them that the Heads of State of ECOWAS will support their efforts.

The Togolese leader paid special tribute to his Liberian counterpart for the level of work she has done since her ascendency to the leadership of ECOWAS.

He noted that ECOWAS has become more responsible and respected under her leadership.

The ceremony was attended by high-profile guests, including the President of the ECOWAS Commission, Marcel Alan Du Souza; Dr. Abubakar Fofana, Minister of Health and Special Representative of President Ernest Bai Koroma; Special Representative of the Secretary General of the United Nations; Speaker Emmanuel Nuquay of the Liberian House of Representatives; Speaker of the ECOWAS Parliament, Mustapha Cisse Lo; Ambassador Abdoulaye Dore, Doyen of the Diplomatic Corps and Liberia's Health Minister, Dr. Bernice Dahn, among others.

Liberia

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