Bill Clinton Celebrates Liberia’s Return to ‘Normal Life’

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Former United States President William (Bill) Clinton yesterday told a hall packed with major health stakeholders that his visit to Liberia is in celebration of the country’s return to “normal life.”

“We are here to celebrate in theory Liberia’s return to normal life,” President Clinton said as he made remarks at a health stakeholders’ gathering yesterday at the Emergency Operations Center (EOC) in Sinkor.

If no new Ebola case is reported in the country by Saturday, May 9, Liberia will be declared Ebola-free by the World Health Organization (WHO).

The former US President, who was in the country along with his daughter, Chelsea Clinton Mezvinsky, said they joined Liberians both at home and abroad and the many partners in the fight to eradicate the virus as they anxiously await that day. President Clinton could not hide his excitement in seeing how much progress the country has made in defeating the deadly virus.

During his one-day visit in the country President Clinton held a major meeting with health stakeholders. He praised President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Liberians and everyone who ensured that the country reached the stage where the Ebola virus has receded.

He noted that the global community, in collaboration with the affected countries needs to figure out how to keep such a devastating pandemic from happening again.

He said this can only be done by building a vibrant health sector and training of healthcare practitioners. He indicated that training healthcare workers adequately to tackle such an emergency will help to prevent it from recurring.

Included in the former US President’s itinerary was the opportunity for him to interact with some of the many Ebola survivors and learn how he and his family, as well as his Clinton Foundation could be of help to them.

Mr. Clinton spoke against stigmatization of survivors, who he said need to be embraced by the larger society.

He also stated that he was in the country to support the government in whatever way possible to restore the country and to keep things moving again.

Before he made his remarks in the hall, he interacted with the Ebola survivors. He asked them about their major challenges, which they said included stigmatization, community rejection, medical conditions and job loss.

Following her dad’s remarks, Ms. Clinton, who also spoke of the joy of Liberia returning to normal life, called for a moment of silence for the many who died as a result of the virus infestation.

Speaking earlier, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf stated that the Clintons’ visit added more impetus to the hard work that she and her lieutenants are doing to stamp out the disease and begin the building of resilient health sector. President Sirleaf also told President Clinton and his entourage that Liberians had to come together as a team in order to defeat the virus.

As the Ebola virus still rages in neighboring Sierra Leone and Guinea, Liberia has now officially gone 36 days without a confirmed case. It is now remaining six more days to complete the 42 days — two incubation periods of the virus — to be declared Ebola-free by the World Health Organization.

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