President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, on behalf of the Liberian people and her government, has lauded the government of the United States of America for the level of support and interventions it has announced so far in combating and containing the deadly Ebola virus in the country and the region.
“On behalf of the Liberian people and in my own name, I want to thank President Obama and the American people for scaling up the American response. I have also spoken to several members of the US Congress who are giving President Obama the support that he needs. We remain in touch with the leaders of other governments to take similar steps and join us in partnership to end this disease,” the Liberian leader said.
The Liberian leader made the commendation last Thursday when she addressed the nation on state radio providing updates on the Ebola situation in the country. Her address came at a time when the US government and the World Bank Group (WBG) had promised huge supports to boost the fight against the virus. She said that with the coming of these supports, the next few months will be crucial in this fight.
The United States government, last Tuesday ramped up its response to the Ebola crisis in affected countries with plans to build 17 treatment centers, train thousands of healthcare workers, and establish a military control center for coordination with the sending of 3000 troops of the US army.
President Barack Obama unveiled the plan last Tuesday. The WBG committed US 105M to the fight in the region with Liberia getting the largest share of US$52M.
Obama, who has called the epidemic a national security crisis for the US, has faced criticisms for not doing more to stem the outbreak, which the World Health Organization (WHO) said last week had killed more than 2,400 people out of 4,784 cases in the region.
The US made the pronouncement few days after President Sirleaf had written her US counterpart requesting the assistance of the US government in containing the outbreak in the country.
The Liberia President said as her government reached out to partners, it has also stressed the need to restore basic and secondary health care, to respond to the many who are sick with thyphoid, malaria and other diseases that need to be treated.
“We have pointed out the gains in reduction in HIV/AIDS, malaria and child mortality that need to be maintained and enhanced. But we have also stressed the need to strengthen our health care system in the long term.”
She lauded the countless Liberians who have been working night and day to try to fight this disease: the nurses and doctors who could have fled, but have made the brave decision to stay and treat the sick; our sons who are doing the physically and emotionally draining work of collecting bodies.
“Our nations, our people, are forever grateful to all of you and we expect to announce early next week that this gratitude goes beyond words. To the security forces that have been providing protection as others serve – to the AFL who will return to the barracks at end of the month, and will work with the US military in engineering work; and the LNP and BIN who will continue to carry on with the responsibility to protect, we say thank you,” the Liberian President said.
She also lauded regional institutions and the many people who have come from abroad to help the country in the fight against the virus. “Our brothers and sisters from around the world who have come here to help, who have exhibited the highest level of service to humanity, indeed some of whom have died doing so. They deserve our collective thanks from the bottom of our hearts,” she said
President Sirleaf indicated that defeating Ebola is just the start. “We also need to ensure that Ebola does not destroy our livelihood. As we attempt to protect lives, we must similarly protect livelihood.”
“In this respect, our partners in financial institutions have not let us down – the World Bank, the African Development Bank, the European Union which support our Ebola response will also be with us in our war to restore economic and social services,” she said.
“I believe in that spirit of resilience. I believe in the Liberian people. I believe that we are stronger than the greatest threat with which we are currently faced. And I believe we will prevail. The war did not defeat us, though completely destroyed economy – the greatest collapse since World War II – did not defeat us. Ebola will not defeat us – never. We have faced great tragedies before. These have tested us and shown our true character. I call on you to stand up again. We are fighting back and we will win.
“And so my people, the Liberian leader said, as we tackle this disease, I want you to know that your government will spare no effort. We will do everything that can be done. We will seek every solution that can be sought. No effort will be spared in defeating our common enemy so that we can return to the business of building our country – building a future for our children and our children’s children.”