The Chairman of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), President John Dramani Mahama of Ghana, has called on international partners and friendly countries that have pledged to assist Liberia with human, financial and material resources in the fight against the dreadful Ebola virus to expedite the process.
President Mahama said though several promised donations would adequately help in combating the virus in the Mano River sub-regions, the problem is that those resources are very slow in coming and as such, there is the need for the process to be fast-tracked in order to augment the government efforts in the fight.
The ECOWAS’s Chair spoke Monday, September 15, when he paid “a solidarity visit” with President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf. He was addressing a joint press briefing along with President Sirleaf in the Foyer of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The Ghanaian leader revealed at the briefing that he had held talks with United Nations (UN) Secretary General, Ban Ki Moon, on the issue of expediting support to the governments of Ebola affected countries if the virus is to be fought effectively and contained. President Mahama revealed that his visit is to show solidarity from the people of Ghana to Liberia as the country goes through this difficult period.
He had a brief bilateral discussion with President Sirleaf prior to the joint briefing. The Ghanaian leader is expected to also pay similar visits to neighboring Sierra Leone and Guinea, which are also hard hit by the Ebola virus.He further indicated that his visits are also intended to advocate for the observation and guidelines agreed upon in Ghana by ECOWAS’s Ministers of Health in combating the virus.
In order to contain the virus, which has claimed over 2000 lives in the affected countries, there must be massive education, awareness and sensitization and citizens must adhere to preventive measures provided by health experts, President Mahama said. Looking at the severity of the disease in Liberia, it is very clear that it is beginning to have grave impacts on the economy.
In regards to decisions by other Africans countries to ostracized Ebola affected nations, President Mahama said that there is no need to isolate because that will create further problems, maybe economically, for the disease to be brought under control in affected countries. The Ghanaian President made a donation of assorted food items to aid Liberia’s fight against the deadly Ebola virus. These include 2,000 bags of rice, 100 cartons of chocolate, 100 boxes of milk and 100 carton of oil. The items arrived in the country on Saturday September 13, 2014. Out of the 2000 bags of rice 150 are already in the country, while the rest will soon be arriving. Reports indicate that all of the items donated are Ghanaian made products. President said the donation is Ghana and Ghanaians’ little way of identifying with their Liberians counterparts. President Sirleaf said her Ghanaian counterpart’s visit is a clear demonstration of the longstanding historic relationships that both countries share. She noted that President Mahama’s solidarity visit amidst this health crisis in the country will further consolidate the relationship.
The Ghanaian leader’s visit, she noted, followed a conversation that they both recently held. The Liberian leader, on behalf of her government and the Liberian people, extended thanks and appreciation to President Mahama and the people of Ghana for the support in this difficult time. “President Mahama, Liberians will always remember you and your country that had always stood by us in times of difficulties. We are very grateful for your presence here with us. Ghana has always been a friend and partner to us and this we highly appreciate,” President Sirleaf asserted.