National Plans to Combat Ebola: MEETINGS?

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Liberian President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf_web.jpg

President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has written the House of Representatives (HOR) on the creation of the organizational structure to combat the deadly Ebola virus, which has claimed over 400 lives and led to the quarantining of about 560,000 citizens in five counties.

The Liberian leader said the overarching group of the structure is called the National Consultative Group (NCG), but the prime leadership, is the National Task Force (NTF), headed by herself.

The Chair of the Task Force is responsible for overall programmatic and financial decisions for the Ebola Trust Fund, including approving budgets submitted by implementing agencies and organizations.

In her letter dated 12 August 2014 to the Speaker and Members of the HOR, the President explained that the NCG includes non-restrictive members from a wide cross-section of the society, who would be briefed and provided inputs on the status of the anti-Ebola campaign.

“The NCG will meet bi-monthly at 12 midday on Thursday, in the C. Cecil Dennis Auditorium at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs,” the President said.

President Sirleaf further stated in her communication that the members of the control body, NTF, comprised of representatives from the National Legislature, the US Government,  the European Commission, the Ministers of Defense, Justice and Information, Cultural and Tourism.

Other members, according to the President, are the Inter-Religious Council, the Labor Congress, the Transport Union, the Press Union, the Liberia Business Association, Youth and Women.

“The NTF will meet each week at 12 noon on Friday in the Cabinet Room at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs,” President Sirleaf wrote.

The President’s letter expounded that the NTF would provide overall oversight of the work of the National Technical Team (NTT), jointly chaired by the Ministers of Health and Social Welfare and the Internal Affairs.

She named members of the NTT as representatives from Government, Non-Governmental Agencies, Partners and Professional Volunteers.

“The NTT will undertake general planning for implementation by all units of the government’s response and decisions and coordination of the national preparedness and response will be taken at this level,” the President said.

According to the Liberian leader, the technical team will meet daily separately and directly under the leaderships of the Co-chairs at their respective headquarters and jointly bi-weekly at 9 a.m. at the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare.

The President also told the House of Representatives that a National Response Center (NRC), which is headed by Mr. Dorbor Jallah as the National Response Coordinator, will coordinate the day-to-day response of all units, to include the Call and Logistics Centers.

The Call Center is regulated by Ms. Wadei Powell, while the Logistics Center is headed by the Coordinator and the Office of the Special Comptroller, Mr. Andre Pope.

“The NRC will serve as the Central Point for all Ebola response related activities and all financial transaction accordingly,” the President said, “The NRC is a 24-hour operating center.”

The President said: “Needless to say, Mr. Speaker, Members of the Legislature are urged to participate appropriately in all the bodies.”

Meanwhile, members of the House of the Representatives voted unanimously for the acceptance and acknowledgement of the letter.

It can be recalled the House also voted unanimously for the State of Emergency and let-go the President to use US$20 million in the fight against Ebola.

Howbeit, amidst the Ebola outbreak as part of its preventive measure, the leadership of House and the Liberian Senate has sent home nearly 85 percent of their staffers on compulsory leave.

The Legislature has sealed all entries to the Capitol Building except the door that faces the Executive Mansion. Hand-washing buckets have been placed at that entry for regular washing of hands.

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