The Ebola Coordinator of the European Union (EU), Mr. Christos Stylianides, has warned Liberia and its neighbors, who are bearing the brunt of the Ebola Virus Disease outbreak, not to be complacent in the fight against the disease, but rather exert more vigilance to ensure that it is eradicated as soon as possible.
Though there are positive signals that the Ebola disease is retreating in some parts of Liberia, which is a clear indication that the Liberian Government is doing much to stop the disease, it would be a serious mistake to let the guard down, Mr. Stylianides cautioned.
“All of us – Liberia, Guinea, Sierra Leone, EU and all partners – must remain on the alert,” he warned, adding that the responsibility is collective and everyone must work hand in hand.
The EU Ebola Coordinator, who is also the Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management, spoke last Friday when he held a joint press meeting with President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf in the foyer of the Foreign Ministry in Monrovia.
Mr. Stylianides was leading a high-level EU delegation to Liberia including EU Commissioner for Health and Food Safety, Mr. Vytenis Andriukaitis.
The press briefing was preceded by a closed-door meeting with President Sirleaf.
The EU Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management boss, on behalf of the organization, expressed his solidarity to the Government and people of Liberia and assured President Sirleaf that “Europe’s solidarity is real and tangible.”
Mr. Stylianides said his delegation is in Liberia to listen to the concerns of Government, including the challenges faced with, to see the needs of the people and to assess the situation.
President Sirleaf lauded the European Union (EU) for its many interventions in the post-conflict recovery process of Liberia.
She used the opportunity to congratulate Mr. Stylianides for his preferment and welcomed his delegation to Liberia. She briefed them on the current status of the fight against the deadly Ebola virus.
She recounted the EU’s contribution to all of the country’s major development projects since the end of the civil war, ranging from direct budgetary support, energy, infrastructure, health, education, and more recently the fight against the Ebola virus disease.
President Sirleaf stressed that going forward, international assistance will be most urgently required in strengthening the healthcare system as well as overall support for the government’s National Economic Recovery Plan in the post-Ebola era. She expressed the hope that the EU would be a partner to rely on in this regard.
She particularly requested the EU’s support in changing the Ebola response by targeting more attention and support to communities, integrating the Ebola intervention with the public and regular healthcare services and support to the government’s energy program.
For his part, Commissioner Andriukaitis said only cooperation and a common action plan at the community, county, state will defeat the Ebola virus disease and begin the recovery process which will restore the confidence of the people.
He thanked the Liberian Government for developing the community-based approach to tackling the further spread of the disease as well as developing and strengthening primary healthcare.
According to an Executive Mansion statement, Finance and Development Planning Minister Amara Konneh, during the closed-door meeting, gave a special update on the impact of the disease on the economy, which reflected a 20 percent decline in revenues. He outlined the National Economic Recovery Plan for the post-Ebola period.
Dr. Emmanuel Dolo, Presidential Youth Advisor, provided updates on the specific interventions and current status of the fight against the further spread of the virus.