President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf received the United Nations Systems Coordinator for Ebola virus disease, David Nabarro, at her Foreign Ministry office. He was accompanied by the Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary General to Liberia, Karen Landgren and the Representative of World Health Organization – Liberia, Peter Graff. The United Nations Secretary General, Mr. Ban Ki-moon on August 12, appointed Dr. David Nabarro as Senior UN Systems Coordinator for Ebola, prompting his first visit to the most affected countries of the outbreak. He is currently concluding visits to Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia to assess the Ebola response, receive updates and brief the leaders of the three worst affected countries.
According to an Executive Mansion release, President Sirleaf briefed Dr. Nabarro on the current state of Liberia’s fight against the further spread of the disease and expressed satisfaction with the progress made so far. She also attributed the progress to the combined efforts of the government, the people of Liberia and the country’s many partners including the United Nations. “Our main concern is to transition from treatment to prevention, strengthen contact tracing, enhance community involvement, promote education and awareness about the disease and begin the process of strengthening the regular health care system to stop the spread of the virus. The existence of treatment centers must be integrated with most prevention initiatives,” President Sirleaf stressed.
The Liberian leader informed the UN Ebola Coordinator that Liberia has set for itself an ambitious goal of “Zero New Cases” by Christmas and stressed the need for a common reporting and information sharing system among the three worst affected countries. For his part, the senior UN Systems Coordinator for Ebola and envoy of the Secretary General to the affected countries, Dr. David Nabarro said he was pleased with the great news about the Ebola decline in Liberia and pointed out that this was a great relief. He warned that despite the progress, Liberia must avoid complacency, control the anxiety and take note of the risk factors.
Dr. Nabarro briefed President Sirleaf about the Ebola state of affairs in Guinea and Sierra Leone and suggested that regional coordination is required now more than ever before in the war against Ebola and committed the UN System to supporting Liberia’s recovery plan as Ebola is being defeated. “My mandate from the Secretary General was clear. Stop the spread of the virus; help attend to the wellbeing of the Liberian people and help the government address the economic consequences of the outbreak,” he pointed out adding, “From all indications in Liberia, this is being achieved through the strong leadership of President Sirleaf and her government.”
Dr. Nabarro informed President Sirleaf that the African Union is currently providing additional training for health care workers, mainly from Nigeria and Ethiopia to be deployed to the affected countries to strengthen current interventions to eradicate the virus. He emphasized that key policy issues such benefits for victims and survivors of the Ebola disease must be regionalized to enhance and promote coordination among the countries.