US President Barack H. Obama has announced the withdrawal of all US troops in West Africa helping to combat the deadly Ebola virus disease. The disease has so far killed more than 9100 persons as at February 11.
At least 3826 of the number of persons, who have reportedly died so far from the disease in eight of the nine countries, which have reported confirmed cases, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), have occurred in Liberia alone.
Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea are the three worst hit nations of the virus and all three account for most of the deaths. Liberia 3826, Sierra Leone 3341 and Guinea 1995.
The nine countries, including the US, United Kingdom and Spain, have so far recorded at least 22, 894 cases on their shores. Others are Mali, Nigeria and Senegal.
Speaking on America’s leadership on the Ebola fight both at home and abroad in West Africa on February 11, the US President told the world: Today, I’m announcing that by April 30th, all but 100 (troop) who will remain to help support the ongoing response, all but those 100 will also be able to come home — not because the job is done, but because they were so effective in setting up the infrastructure, that we are now equipped to deal with the job that needs to be done in West Africa, not only with a broader, international coalition, but also with folks who have been trained who are from the countries that were most at risk.
However, the US President made it very clear that despite him pulling his soldiers from West Africa, including Liberia, does not mean that the epidemic has been defeated. He also announced his government’s new response approach to the Ebola crisis in the sub-region.
“So I want to be very clear here: While our troops are coming home, America’s work is not done. Our mission is not complete. Today, we move into the next phase of the fight, winding down our military response while expanding our civilian response. That starts here at home, where we’re more prepared to protect Americans from infectious disease, but still have more work to do., for as long as Ebola simmers anywhere in the world, we will have some Ebola fighting heroes, who are coming back home with the disease from time to time. And that’s why we’re screening and monitoring all arrivals from affected countries.
Obama told the audience that they had gathered at the South Court Auditorium, Washington D.C., so that he would tell all those directly and indirectly involved in the fight and to mark a transition in their fight against this disease , stressing: we’re not to declare mission accomplished, but to mark a transition.
“Thanks to the hard work of our nearly 3,000 troops who deployed to West Africa, logistics have been set up, Ebola treatment units have been built, over 1,500 African health workers have been trained, and volunteers around the world gained the confidence to join the fight,” he told the American audience to rounds of applauds.
The US is heading the global respond against the epidemic.
The President also announced to the US people and the rest of the world that "Liberia has seen the best progress. Sierra Leone is moving in the right direction, Guinea has the longest way left to go." He stated that they would now focus on getting to "zero. Every case is an ember that, if not contained, can light a new fire. So we’re shifting our focus from fighting the epidemic to now extinguishing it."
In mid-September 2014, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf wrote Mr. Obama for help in managing Liberia’s rapidly expanding Ebola crisis. President Sirleaf had warned that without American assistance the disease could send Liberia into the civil chaos that enveloped the country for nearly 15 years.
In a letter she sent to her American counterpart on Tuesday, September 9, Madam Sirleaf wrote: “I am being honest with you when I say that at this rate, we will never break the transmission chain and the virus will overwhelm us, and she requested 1,500 additional beds in new hospitals across the country and urged that the United States military set up and run a 100-bed Ebola hospital in Monrovia.
The US President responded to Madam Sirleaf’s plead and deployed nearly 3,000 of his soldiers to West Africa. He said it’s now logical to withdraw them but their (Americans') mission is not yet complete as new cases of the virus still emerge.
According to the WHO, the total weekly case incidence increased for the second consecutive week, with 144 new confirmed cases reported in the week to February 8, Guinea reported a sharp increase in incidence, with 65 new confirmed cases compared with 39 the week before. Transmission remains widespread in Sierra Leone, which reported 76 new confirmed cases, while the resurgence in cases in the western district of Port Loko continued for a second week. Liberia continues to report a low number of new confirmed cases