The President of the ECOWAS Commission, Kadré Désiré Ouédraogo has expressed sympathy and condolence to victims of the Ebola virus and their families and stressed that all institutions of the sub-regional organization were fully behind the affected countries.
“ECOWAS will do its best to help address the current Ebola crisis,” Ouédraogo promised.
“Let me pay a special tribute to you Madam President for your country’s courageous fight against the further spread of the Ebola virus disease. ECOWAS stands ready to collaborate with your government, the UN System and all partners for an effective and efficient response to the Ebola outbreak,” the ECOWAS Commission President said.
According to an Executive Mansion release, the ECOWAS Commission president made the remarks when he and the Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary General and Head of the UN Office of ECOWAS, Dr. Mohammed Ibn Chambas, met with President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf at her Foreign Ministry office during a one-day solidarity visit to Liberia Tuesday.
He informed the Liberian President that the Authority of Heads of State and Government of ECOWAS has named the President of Togo, Faure Gnassingbé, as the regional coordinator for the ECOWAS Ebola Response in West Africa and that a donation of US$1 million has been made available by ECOWAS to the three worst affected countries – Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone.
The ECOWAS Commission President further informed President Sirleaf that 131 healthcare workers have been recruited and expected to undergo training in Accra, Ghana beginning next Monday for deployment in the three worst affected countries.
Mr. Ouédraogo stressed that the ECOWAS Commission will continue to advocate for the free movement of people, goods and services across ECOWAS countries, and urged all countries of the sub-region to fully cooperate.
For his part, Dr. Chambas expressed joy at visiting Liberia when the country needs all of the attention and support, adding that he had taken office on October 29 after a long stay in Burkina Faso to address the political situation unfolding there.
“There will be actions and the United Nations will work closely with ECOWAS on its intervention in Liberia,” Dr. Chambas said.
He welcomed the regional collaboration initiated by ECOWAS and noted that the Ebola crisis is a regional and global threat.
In response, President Sirleaf thanked Mr. Ouédraogo and Dr. Chambas for the solidarity visit and reflected on how ECOWAS has always been there for and with Liberia.
She recalled an earlier visit of the Chairman of ECOWAS and President of Ghana, Dr. John Mahama, to Liberia to show support and solidarity as well as the financial, logistical and moral support of ECOWAS to Liberia.
“ECOWAS’ messages sent to the UN System were helpful in generating the overall global response to the crisis. You have done well in standing by us and our people are grateful,” the Liberian President told the two officials.
President Sirleaf pointed out that Liberia is a clear example of how a disease can destroy and devastate a country, but also shows how a collective response from collective actions can yield results.
“We are using this crisis to address the challenges in the healthcare system and prevent a reoccurrence of such damaging impact of a disease on the country,” she stressed.
She briefed the delegation about the upcoming mid-term senatorial elections and urged ECOWAS to send observers to monitor the process.
The Liberian leader also reminded ECOWAS to factor the Duala-Bo Waterside corridor into the ECOWAS road connectivity project aimed at enhancing free movement of people, goods and services across the sub-region.