Attorney Samuel Kofi Woods, II has applauded the people of The Netherlands for their continuous support to Liberia and has urged the Dutch Government to do more than just provide emergency aid in order to put an end to the Ebola crisis in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea.
Atty. Woods, who is goodwill ambassador for Save the Children-Holland, was speaking last Wednesday when he met with some members of the Dutch Parliament in an attempt to continue his campaign to mobilize support for Liberia’s post-Ebola recovery program. He urged their government to contribute to the health care systems and economic development of the three countries hardest hit by the deadly virus in the sub region.
“Let Ebola be a wake-up call for our governments and the international community. We can no longer tolerate that healthcare systems in our region are so dangerously ineffective,” said Woods.
Mr. Woods, who is in Holland on the invitation of the Dutch Parliament and several organizations, including CARE Holland, Plan-Holland, CORDAID, Terres de Hommes, Save the Children and Oxfam/Novib, emphasized the need to sustain the momentum and support the Ebola transitional program, which includes Education.
Woods maintained that increased investment in education is key to ending poverty, promoting democracy and building Liberia’s Human Resource Capacity.
The link between health, education and other areas of national development must be made, he insisted.
The further noted the stark disparity that exists between Monrovia and the rest of the country.
Woods stressed the lack of access to water and other basic necessities, and noted that traveling around Liberia, the lack of classrooms and desks and chairs for students is agonizing.
Over the next few months, Woods said, “I will be launching two programs: 1. “SIT A CHILD” intended to ensure that every school going child has a desk and a bag to go to school and 2.“A DROP IN THE BUCKET” to provide access to clean and safe drinking water to communities.
He added that Dutch support should also go to initiatives that are aimed at improving food security and income generating activities.
He appealed for more attention to the underlying causes of this crisis, noting that only treating the symptoms of a crisis is a waste of time.
“It is crucially important to invest in stronger health care systems in order to prevent the rapid spread of viruses such as Ebola or measles,” Woods said.
He added that prevention of such epidemics is much more cost-effective than curing it because the current Ebola response has cost $4.3 billion, while investing in stronger health care systems would have cost $1.58 billion according to a Save the Children report.
He called on international donors to scale up spending on healthcare systems.
In response, members of the Dutch Parliament agreed to consider Wood’s appeal during their debate on Wednesday, April 8.