‘Not Over ‘til It’s Over’

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    The United States Assistant Secretary of State for  African Affairs, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, has said that her government‘s robust interventions and the vigilance shown by all partners, especially the government of Liberia, in the fight against the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) will not be over until the disease is eradicated from the country.

    Assistant Secretary Thomas-Greenfield, who is also the immediate past US Ambassador to Liberia, said the US government’s intervention is a huge combined effort of many components involved in the process.

     The US diplomat was yesterday addressing a press stakeout along with President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and US Assistant Secretary of Defense for Special Operations, Michael D. Lumpkin at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Monrovia where she led a high level delegation.

    The delegation also included representatives from USAID and the Department of Health and Human Services.  Ambassador Thomas Greenfield noted that she was delighted to be back in Liberia after serving two and a half years in the country.

    She recognized what she described as the tremendous efforts of the US military and the AFL for the coordination and the great work they have done together to address the Ebola outbreak.

    Ambassador Greenfield indicated that inspite of the tremendous progress, there is still a lot to be done. “It’s not over until it’s over, but you have done a tremendous job, Madam President, you   and your team, to bring us to a place today where we can say that things are getting better.  But we cannot let our guard down; we cannot stop the efforts that everyone is involved in; we cannot change the practices that have been put into place to ensure that this disease is conquered.   We must continue that fight,” she admonished.

    President Sirleaf earlier welcomed Ambassador Greenfield and her team to what she referred to as “Ambassador Thomas Greenfield’s old home.” The President lauded Assistant Secretaries Thomas- Greenfield and Lumpkin for the tremendous support Liberia has received and through them President Barrack Obama, who she said took some major decisions to support all of the Ebola affected countries.

    “As a result of this support, which was strongly endorsed by the US Congress, Liberia has been able to make this overwhelming progress.

    She noted that the US officials’ visit provides an opportunity to exchange information on how far the country has come, and “to recognize that we still have to continue to fight this virus, which is not over yet.”

    She said the visit provided the chance also to join partnership with them to move from treatment to prevention, by giving more community responsibility and control and by rebuilding the health care system to ensure that there is no reoccurrence of such a devastating situation.

    “Even as we move to the next phase of economic recovery, we must continue to strive to ensure that people can have capital income to be able to access important services,” President Sirleaf declared

    Assistant Secretary Lumpkin described as “outstanding” the progress the country has made in the Ebola fight as a result of the efforts of everyone.  He indicated that the teamwork between the US government and other international partners as well as the government of Liberia is also highly commendable, though he also believed that more needed to be done.

    Assistant Secretary Lumpkin said that in September this year when he was here to assess the situation, he informed President Sirleaf that he would be back in December to see the progress that was made, and so he was happy to be back to witness such a huge progress.

    “As you are aware, the US military in the Department of Defense is only a piece of the US government’s response in support of the government of Liberia, aimed at eradicating the outbreak of Ebola,” he noted.

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