President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf on Friday received the Chief Executive Officer and President of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and Samaritan’s Purse International Relief, Rev. Dr. Franklin Graham at her Foreign Ministry Office.
According to an Executive Mansion release, President Sirleaf welcomed Dr. Graham to Liberia and thanked him for the many good works his organization has done in Liberia. She particularly recalled the role of Samaritan’s Purse during the Ebola crisis.
“We are glad to know that you will be unveiling another big project that will benefit the country and its people – the new ELWA Hospital. We will join you in that celebration,” President Sirleaf indicated.
The President said she believes God was the key driver in helping Liberia to defeat the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) because there were daring predictions that did not come to pass. She also acknowledged the bravery and good work of Dr. Jerry Brown and other health professionals who stood in the gap when many had given up hope. She reminded Dr. Graham and his team about the need to pay special attention to the Ebola survivors who require immense assistance.
President Sirleaf pointed out that the country has been faced with challenges including the fall of global commodity prices and Ebola and the progress that has been made is visible. She noted that Samaritan’s Purse and the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association was a key part of the visible progress that has been made in Liberia.
She thanked the group for the five airstrips built in the country which has made air travel in rural Liberia possible amid the challenges with some of the impassable roads leading to those areas. “Our partnership with you has been long and rewarding,” President Sirleaf concluded.
Speaking earlier, Dr. Graham acknowledged the huge progress that has been made since he last visited Liberia five years ago. He informed her about the new state of the art hospital that has been built on the ELWA premises.
“We are committed to Liberia and love Liberia very much. This is a wonderful country blessed by God who was with you during the Ebola crisis. Ebola was a darkness that came upon you but the country and people have come to terms with it and are moving forward,” he told President Sirleaf.
Dr. Graham said the newly built hospital at ELWA will be fully furnished with state of the art equipment with a plan to do further expansion of the facilities. He pointed out that with the new structure and equipment, no Liberian has to leave the country for advance treatment abroad, adding that every medical condition will be handled at the hospital.
He reflected that many persons abroad particularly in the USA were praying for the country and the President during the Ebola crisis and expressed the belief that God was in charge and halted the further spread of the disease.
He also recognized the contribution of the Dr. Kent Brantley and his colleagues who contracted the disease as they worked to save lives through Samaritan’s Purse at the ELWA Compound and were saved by God. “They became good ambassadors for Liberia and helped bring the attention of the world and the United States of America to the situation in Liberia at the time.”
Dr. Graham thanked President Sirleaf for the leadership shown under pressure to fight the disease and bring the country back to order. “We are even more pleased that Liberia now has the capacity to contain outbreaks of Ebola as demonstrated by the last three outbreaks after the end of the Ebola crisis.
Members of Dr. Graham’s delegation included General Jim Walker – Deputy Director for International Projects, Mr. Kendell Kauffeldt- Country Director of Samaritan’s Purse Liberia; Mr. William Ackerman and Rev. Gentry Taylor – Government Liaison Manager.