Ghana: ECOWAS Ebola solidarity fund bags US$9m

Accra, Ghana (PANA) - More Member States of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) have announced financial contributions to the regional Solidarity Fund to fight Ebola to about US$9.0 million.

A statement from ECOWAS on Friday said at the just-ended extraordinary summit of the sub-region in Accra on Ebola and the crisis in Burkina Faso, Nigeria which had earlier contributed US$3.5 million to the Fund, pledged additional US$1 million and affirmed its willingness to make 500 health volunteers available to help fight the disease in the three affected countries - Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea.

It said Cote d’Ivoire had already contributed US$1 million to the fund and was joined at the summit by Senegal which announced a contribution of US$1 million.

Benin pledged the equivalent of US$400,000, Sierra Leone US$250,000, Niger and Mali US$200,000 each and Burkina Faso US$150,000.

Also during the 6 November 2014 summit, the West African Economic and Monetary Union (UEMOA) presented a cheque for US$1.5 million to the Chairman of the Authority of ECOWAS Heads of State and Government, Ghana’s President John Dramani Mahama, to strengthen the Ebola fight in the three most affected member States.

The statement said ECOWAS had already donated US$1 million to each of the three Member States within the context of the multisectoral coordinated response to defeat the disease.

Nigeria and Senegal have been declared Ebola free by the World Health Organization (WHO), for halting the transmission chain of the outbreak, which has claimed nearly 5,000 lives from the estimated 13,000 reported cases, mainly in the three severely affected countries.

In their communiqué at the end of the Accra summit, the regional leaders urged Member States to contribute military personnel and logistics to enhance response capacities, support the medical staff on the field and participate in the contribution of additional treatment and isolation centres as well as ensure their security.

Member States were also encouraged to provide additional medical and voluntary staff to the affected countries and enjoined to conduct extensive public education, communication and awareness on Ebola with a view to preventing the stigmatization of affected persons and stopping the spread of the disease.

To better address sanitary crisis in the future, the ECOWAS leaders called for the strengthening of national health systems, including by increasing resource allocation to health at a minimum of 15% of national budgets in accordance with the Abuja Declaration.

The heads of state directed the ECOWAS Commission to take all necessary measures to set up a regional centre for disease prevention and control in West Africa and enhance health research in the region.

The summit called on airlines and maritime companies to continue operation in the affected countries and on partner countries to lift visa restrictions imposed on such countries.

The leaders also urged the private sector, civil society, regional and international humanitarian and development organizations to intensify technical, financial and institutional assistance to rid the region of the Ebola scourge.
-0- PANA MA/AR 7Nov2014

07 november 2014 17:26:24

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