EU Pleased with Liberia’s Ebola Response

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Mr. Stefano Ellero, Head of Development Cooperation Section (II): Infrastructure and Social Sectors, Delegation of the European Union to Liberia, has declared that the EU is ‘pleased’ with the Liberian Government’s response to the Ebola crisis.

The EU diplomat commended the government and people for their robust response in tackling the deadly Ebola virus, which has claimed so many lives in Liberia. However, he cautioned everyone that the virus was not yet been eradicated from the country and urged everyone to remain steadfast and continue to follow all the preventive measures.

Mr. Ellero pledged the EU’s continual commitment to Liberia. He spoke yesterday at the formal opening of a three-day Stakeholders’ Consultative Meeting on Health Systems Assessment and Building Resilient Health Systems for Liberia.

Just before he pronounced the conference formally opened, Health and Social Welfare Minister, Dr. Walter T. Gwenigale, appealed for more money for the health sector. Min. Gwenigale directed his plea to the arm of government which apportions money to functionaries of the government and to the international community, including the EU, United Nations and US Government.

He said the health sector has been gravely hit by the Ebola virus disease and that more money was needed in order to fill in the gaps that the virus has created in the nation’s health sector.

In this fiscal year 2014/15, the health sector’s allocation was increased by 45 percent from US$69 million in fiscal year 2013/14 to US$99.6 million.

The three-day stakeholders’ forum, which is being held at a local hotel in Paynesville City, follows  the 10 – 11 December 2014 Geneva High Level Meeting (HLM) on building resilient systems for health in Ebola affected countries. The Geneva Meeting, which was co-sponsored by the WHO, WB, AfDB and West Africa Health Organization (WAHO), brought together more than 200 participants from various countries and global development partners.

Liberia, prior to the HLM in Geneva, had recognized the link between the weak health system and the current health crisis and had initiated dialogue among its stakeholders around the need for a comprehensive and integrated health system assessment to inform agenda  setting for rebuilding more resilient systems for health.

The forum in Monrovia brings together international, regional and in-country health sector stakeholders and “aims at creating a forum for a forward looking dialogue around the scope and level of preparedness by the country to undertake a health system assessment and development of a strategy and strategic operational plans.”

It also intends to provide an opportunity for countries and key partners to reach consensus on next steps and agree based on comparative advantage of each entity — governments, donors and international technical agencies — on roles and responsibilities.

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