President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has dedicated her newest award, the Global Champion Award, to the numerous healthcare workers who defied all odds to defeat the dreadful Ebola Virus Disease (EVD)-a fight in which many (Healthcare workers) of them lost their lives.
The GCA is a prestigious award that was initiated by a renowned medical institution, the International Medical Corps (IMC), an international non-governmental organization (INGO) that is involved in global medical research, especially in the area of infectious diseases.
Speaking with reporters on Tuesday at the Roberts International Airport in Habel, Margibi County upon her arrival from the United States where she had gone to form part of the 70th Session of the United Nations General Assembly held in New York, President Sirleaf said “My trip abroad was not all about this award, but I’m grateful to have won this award and I want to dedicate this to all health workers, who along with the communities, help to rid the country of the virus.”
President Sirleaf paid tribute to the doctors, nurses and health care workers for showing the leadership, taking ownership and demonstrating dedication to serve as first responders in the midst of the epidemic. She praised the doctors and the Liberian people for putting their country first especially at a time when the country was confronting an unknown enemy. Health workers were one of the major casualties of the EVD outbreak in the country with about two hundred succumbing to the virus.
Since its establishment in 2013, President Sirleaf became the second winner of this prestigious award for what IMC described as her courage, leadership, integrity and wisdom in the overall fight against the EVD. The first person to win the inaugural piece is former U.S. Secretary of State, Hilary Clinton in 2013.
She described the just ended 70th Session of the United Nations General Assembly held in New York, United States of America as “rewarding”. “It was a very long tiring trip; but rewarding also,” she stressed as she returned from visits to the Federal Republic of Germany and the United States of America where she participated in high-level meetings and the UN General Assembly.
President Sirleaf noted, among other engagements, that her trip to the U.S. focused on the adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that will replace the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) at the end of 2015, the regular UN General Assembly and other high-level meetings on the margins of the UN General Assembly.
On the recent violence in Ganta City, Nimba County, President Sirleaf said Minister Brownie Samukai, who chaired the Cabinet in consultation with Vice President Boakia, was able to move swiftly and put the situation under control, adding, he was vigilant and took the right decisions to keep our nation safe. She chose not to comment further until she receives full briefing from leadership of the security sector.
Meanwhile, after the airport formalities, a Thanksgiving Service was held at the All Saints Catholic Church in Unification Town, lower Margibi County for the President Sirleaf’s safe return.
Delivering the sermon, Pastor, St Pius X Parish of Harbel, Rev. Monsignor Dr. Gabriel Blamo Jubwe, who spoke from the book of Roman 12:1, praised the Liberian President for her commitment and service to the nation and called on everyone to emulate her good examples, adding, “If we as a people, must rebuild this country, this nation, we need to reexamine our commitment to service which is being qualified as dedicated service,” Rev. Jubwe noted.
In special remarks, the Liberian leader attributed her work to God’s blessing and grace noting, “If God was not behind what I do, I couldn’t be where I am.”
She used the occasion to welcome Apostle Bobby L. Scales to Liberia and thanked Rev. Jubwe for the wonderful message, the Catholic Church, and the pastors for their continuous prayers. She also thanked the acting chair of the cabinet, Minister Samukai, and all the Ministers for keeping the nation safe.
Special prayer of Thanksgiving was offer for President Sirleaf for her safe arrival and successful mission.
The Service was graced by senior government officials, religious leaders, citizens of Margibi County, Unity Party partisans and well-wishers, amongst others.
Receiving the award, President Sirleaf paid tribute to the communities for showing the leadership and taking ownership in demonstrating the zealotry to serve as first responders in the midst of the epidemic. She saluted the communities for putting their country first especially at a time when Liberia was confronting an unknown enemy.
She acknowledged the communities’ role in taking charge and as such deserves all the credit; also noting the sacrifices made by nurses, doctors and the hard working team of the Incident Management System.
The Liberian leader, however, indicated that in spite of the progress, her administration was committed to vigorous surveillance geared towards protecting its borders as well as take action to increase the pace of combating malaria and cholera.
Speaking on behalf of International Medical Corps earlier, its Vice President for Institutional Advancement, Nancy Milner described President Sirleaf as a remarkable and extraordinary leader who successfully led her country during its most turbulent moment. She said her organization has great interest in the government’s priority aimed at training and rebuilding a resilient health system.