Release Funds Early To Fight Ebola – President

President Mahama(left) and Mrs.Sirleaf Johnson holding discussions.jpgPRESIDENT John Mahama has advocated the need for international organisations that have pledged to donate monies to support Ebola affected countries to speedily honour their pledges, to contain the rapid spread of the epidemic.

“A lot of money has been pledged but most of it is not on the ground yet We need to speed up the roll-out of all these pledges,” said Mr. Mahama, who chairs the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Governments.

In an interview yesterday with a section of journalists after he embarked on a day’s tour of Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea, nations battling with the outbreak of the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD), President Mahama stressed the need for organisations that had pledged assistance, to put the monies in the hands of the governments concerned rather than using proxy organisations.

“We should always remember that the governments bear the primary responsibility in the fight against Ebola. So, even though there are non-governmental organisations and international humanitarian organisations working on the ground, I think that the governments need some resources to carry out the public education, to be able to mobilise the task forces that do the burials, and generally finance the countries’ response to the disease.”

The visit, a follow-up to the Accra Emergency summit of West African Health Ministers, afforded the ECOWAS Chair to hold discussions with his colleague Heads of state on available sub-regional and international interventions to support the countries in their effort to contain and manage the Ebola outbreak.

With some countries and airlines discontinuing flights into the three countries, President Mahama has been leading a strong advocacy against any international isolation of the affected countries, as it will make relief and humanitarian assistance to infected persons difficult.

President Mahama has already decided to work with the United Nations to set up an international logistics centre in Accra to serve as the main hub for the fight against Ebola in the West African Sub-region.

According to the World Health Organisation, Ebola cases are increasing faster than the capacity to manage them, with more than 2,400 people having died from the virus in recent months while some 4,700 people have been infected.

Commenting from what he saw on the ground during the visit, President Mahama said there is determination on the part of the governments and the peoples in the affected countries to turn the situation around, which was crucial in combating the epidemic.

“Now that we understand the disease better, and countries are putting in their screening and response systems, I think that the initial panic phase has ended and it is time for us to ease some of the restrictions on travel,” he said.

Giving an update about the decision to set up a logistics centre in Accra to coordinate the response in West Africa, President Mahama said the UN agencies were mobilizing to set up the centre.

Reacting to concerns by sections of the citizenry that the trip was a risky one, President Mahama thought otherwise, saying that “ You wash your hands when you come in, and there are very strict standards of hygiene being used, and they are doing all the screening.

They have the temperature guns and everything, and I don’t think it is risky at all, after all there are people living there,” he stressed.

During the meetings with the leaders of the three nations Presidents Johnson Sirleaf of Liberia, Ernest Bai Koroma of Sierra Leone, and Professor Alpha Conde of Guinea, President Mahama was said to have attracted the commendation from his colleagues for his solidarity.

As part of the visit, President Mahama presented large guantities of Ghanaian rice, chocolate drink, Chocolim, and cooking oil.

 By Samuel Nuamah









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