Monrovia, Liberia – Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has praised the efforts of all partners and Liberians in particular that have played a pivotal role in the fight against the Ebola virus disease. She recalled that between July and October 2014, the country was put to great test, but today we can praise God for what he has done.
“We owe it to the determination of the Liberian people who in the midst of all the difficulties did not give up. In the midst of all the criticisms, we remained focused. In the midst of all the attention we got in a negative way, we remained determined to fight this enemy,” the Liberian leader said.
President Sirleaf was speaking at the Freeport of Monrovia Monday, November 24, during programmes marking the official handover of a donation that include 23 containers of assorted medical supplies and drugs, 21 ambulances and other vehicles, one self-contained mobile laboratory, among others to the Government and people of Liberia by the Government of the Kingdom of Netherlands and other countries of the European Union including Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Hungary, Spain, Sweden, Finland, Romania, and the United Kingdom.
The value of the donation is put at €3.6 million.
She praised the critical role of partners in the fight. “We want to say a big thank you,” President Sirleaf said especially to the Government and people of the Netherlands and all the members of the European Union who heard the country’s appeal and have supported Liberia in the fight against Ebola.
President Sirleaf reechoed that Liberia has targeted the eradication of the disease by the end of December 2014. She said though it’s difficult, but if we try we can make it. “We can make it if try. When we set a target it means that we remain focused on that goal and then you redouble your efforts. As you get closer to the finish line, you pick up the speed,” urging Liberians to give this last month their best bet to rid the country of Ebola.
The Liberian leader indicated that much of the donation will help the Government respond to regular health care, not only Ebola.
She expressed happiness at Ambassador Docter’s assertion that after Ebola is defeated, he will return with an investment and trade delegation. “That’s the final part of our process. We first treat the sick, improve our health care and begin our economic recovery that will create the jobs because with that, people will improve their lives.
She said Liberia must use the opportunity of this crisis to make them self-dependent and ready so in case there is any other disease, Liberia will have the capacity to deal with it themselves.
In remarks earlier, the Dutch Ambassador to Liberia, H.E. Hans Docter, said the Dutch Government was happy to join the fight against Ebola in the sub-region and feels that the world should isolate the disease and not the countries. “We are strong advocates of open communication and open travel and that is what we strongly advocate for,” he urged.
Ambassador Docter said the EU is greatly encouraged by the progress that Liberia has made in the fight against Ebola, noting that it has been a national effort where the Government and people of Liberia with assistance from partners have managed to bring the disease to its knees, though it’s not completely gone.
“We are greatly encouraged by the progress made in Liberia, but we can only rest assured once the disease is eradicated in all three countries. Notwithstanding the progress we’ve made in Liberia, the disease is still growing in Sierra Leone and still not under control in Guinea or in Mali. So the risk of reinfection remains large,” he warned.
The Dutch Ambassador disclosed that the Dutch navy vessel, Karel Doorman, will return before Christmas with an additional consignment of relief supplies and equipment for the Government and people of Liberia to support the fight.
He expressed thanks and appreciation to President Sirleaf for the support and goodwill to the Government of the Netherlands, promising to remain with Liberia even after the Ebola crisis. “We will be with you even after Ebola helping to rebuild the economy and helping it grow,” he promised.
Ambassador Docter said the Dutch Government is committed to remain with Liberia after Ebola. “As soon as Ebola is under control, we will be back with a delegation of investors and a trade delegation to work out cooperation in the fields of agriculture, water and sanitation and energy,” he promised.
The Ambassador of the Kingdom of Netherlands, H. E. Hans Docter welcomed guests for the docking of the Dutch Navy’s largest and newest vessel, Karel Doorman – A833 to Liberia to bring in medical supplies and other logistics for the fight against the deadly disease Ebola.
A ceremony was witnessed by Foreign Minister Augustine Kpehe Ngafuan and other high profiled government officials and personalities, including U.S. and European Ambassadors accredited near Monrovia and other representatives of European and International NGOs.