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...To Fight Ebola

The United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, Mr. Hervé Ladsous has assured President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf that the United Nations remains on the side of Liberia in the wake of the Ebola epidemic.

He said the UN is prepared to support ongoing international efforts led by the World Health Organization (WHO) and others to contain the virus.

mrharvejadsousHe reiterated that WHO has taken the initiative to mobilize the entire UN system and beyond to effectively respond to the outbreak with the aim of containing further spread of the deadly Ebola virus disease in the sub-region.

“Currently, the United Nations Secretary-General, Mr. Ban Ki-moon has taken advantage of the ongoing United Nations General Assembly to engage different levels of world leaders and is committed to doing all he can to stop the epidemic,” Mr. Ladsous noted.

According to an Executive Mansion release, the UN Under-Secretary General made the statement when he met with the Liberian leader at her Foreign Ministry office recently.

Mr. Ladsous conveyed deep feelings of Mr. Ban about the current Ebola epidemic in Liberia and other countries in the sub-region. “My visit to Liberia is also to express the solidarity of the Secretary-General and to assure President Sirleaf of the UN system’s commitment to help mitigate the risk placed on the hard won gains made in Liberia so far. I am here to sit with you and the Government on how we can more effectively help the situation,” Mr. Ladsous said.

For her part, President Sirleaf thanked the UN Under-Secretary-General for his visit to Liberia and recounted previous visits including that of the UN Systems Coordinator on Ebola, David Nabarro and others to help respond to the outbreak.

The Liberian leader described the Ebola virus as an unknown enemy to the Liberian setting, making it critical to the respond efforts. “Our collective response is yet to catch up with the acceleration rate of the virus thus far, but concrete efforts in strategic partnership with the international community and international responders are now in place to mitigate the situation,” President Sirleaf pointed out.

President Sirleaf briefed Mr. Ladsous about several initial measures taken by the Government including the closure of schools, entertainment centers, video clubs, etc. and noted that cultural and traditional practices also remain at the heart of efforts to break the transmission of the disease.

 She, however, expressed hope that the end will come soon as there are so many success stories associated with the release of more survivors from the treatment centers across the country.

 “Our regular healthcare system was hard hit by the outbreak and needs support and attention to be able to respond to the growing number of non-Ebola cases that are also adding to the death rate in the country. We are working with our partners to fully restore regular healthcare, and the UN’s involvement is encouraged,” President Johnson-Sirleaf urged.

 The President pointed out that the Ebola outbreak is having serious consequences on the country’s economy, and assured that the government is working with the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and others to mitigate the situation now and the post-Ebola period.

 She informed Mr. Ladsous that the security situation in the country so far remains calm, and pointed out that the desire of training more personnel in the security sector, particularly the police was on course but now restrained by the Ebola outbreak.