As the New Year dawns, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf is calling on all Liberians to reconcile, discard old habits, grievances and differences and begin afresh.
“As we start this New Year, let us begin anew, putting old habits, old grievances and old difference behind us. Let is carry the torch of reconciliation and compromise,” she urged all Liberians.
According to an Executive Mansion release, the Liberia leader made the assertion in a nationwide address on the occasion of the beginning of the New Year, wishing all compatriots a happy and healthy 2015.
Looking back at the end of a very difficult 2014, she indicated that Liberians do so with the knowledge that they have the capacity and the commitment to each other to reach out for a better and brighter country.
Specifically highlighting the fight against the Ebola virus disease over the last year, President Sirleaf noted that the people of this country have made great personal sacrifices in the fight including their lives to ensure that the disease is defeated. As a result of these sacrifices, the numbers of Ebola cases have declined considerably.
Providing statistics as of December 28, the Liberian leader disclosed that of the 16 Ebola Treatment Units across the country including the Monrovia Medical Unit for healthcare workers there are only 63 patients being treated; 42 of which are confirmed cases.
“Lofa, the former epicenter of the disease, has not reported a case since November 4. Most of the southeast, including Grand Gedeh, River Gee and Grand Kru have not reported any confirmed cases in many days although ETUs are being brought online to provide care should cases be found in those counties,” she noted.
President Sirleaf used the opportunity to thank community leaders, Christian and Muslim Community, civil society and especially healthcare workers who have been on the frontline with a passionate endurance to this fight. She also thanked bilateral and multilateral partners whose support has made the progress possible.
Despite the progress however, she informed the nation that within the last 21 days health authorities have highlighted 131 new cases of the disease. “There are 96 confirmed cases with laboratory tests; 58 cases in Montserrado, 20 in Grand Cape Mount, where there is a resurgence and 2 in Nimba where there previously had not been a case for 62 days,” she pointed out.
With this information, President Sirleaf reminded Liberians that Ebola is still among us. “As a result, until and unless we get to zero, we must maintain the same level of intense attention, caution and prevention practices that helped to get us where we are today.
“We must continue to shout loudly through voice and action that Ebola must go because getting rid of Ebola is everybody’s business as government intensifies efforts to move from treatment to prevention; by focusing on the rebuilding and strengthening of our healthcare system through training, better compensation for doctors and healthcare
Workers; through better equipped health facilities and improved road condition and access to these facilities,” she warned.
President Sirleaf expressed delight over the conduct of the just ended Special Senatorial Elections and congratulated the senators-elect for their victory. She asked God’s blessings and direction as they prepare or continue to take on the responsibility of national service. She also commended the losers for their constructive and peaceful participation in what she termed “Victory for Democracy” and encouraged them to identify other ways in which they can continue to serve their country.
She praised the National Elections Commission for the efficient organization and arrangement of the process. “We recognize the role of all political parties, independent candidates, observers, civil society organizations, the media, and representatives of the competing interests at the various precincts for their contribution to the process.”
President Sirleaf paid tribute to the gallant men and women serving in various state security apparatuses for their loyalty, devotion and commitment to ensure law and order during the entire campaign period and on Election Day. “They gave to their country as they had sworn to do so diligently. We appreciate and acknowledge their service to the call of duty,” she said.
The Liberian leader said, although imperfect, the successful results of the polls serve as concrete example to the sub-region, Africa and the rest of the world that Liberia, a long way from the past, is now symbolizing the first steps of a journey toward democratic maturity.