Ghana: ECOWAS mobilizes partners in coordinated move to defeat Ebola

Accra, Ghana (PANA) - A High-Level international Coordination Meeting on the fight against Ebola, held in Accra, Ghana, on Friday, has called on development partners, including private-sector operators, to rally behind it in coordinated strategic efforts to defeat the epidemic.

The Chairman of the Authority of ECOWAS Heads of State and Government, Ghana’s President John Dramani Mahama, said “We need to work together with stronger regional and global leadership with integrated, multi-sectoral efforts to achieve concrete and impactful gains to contain the epidemic at the affected countries and prevent further spread by enhanced surveillance at all other countries."

"We should detect threats early, adequately respond and recover rapidly,” President Mahama said at the opening of the multi-stakeholder/partner meeting.

While acknowledging the “contributions of all whose efforts have led to the gains achieved so far,” including the UN, WHO and other development partners, the ECOWAS chairman called on “all nations to provide maximum support to the affected countries and ensure that the epidemic is controlled at the source.”

The meeting, called at the behest of President Mahama and his Togolese counterpart, President Faure Gnassingbe, the Coordinator of the regional process for the fight against Ebola, took place against the backdrop of WHO reported decline in new cases in worst affected countries.

But this is not after the disease has claimed more than 8,100 lives from the over 20,000 cases recorded from March 2014, mainly in the region.

In his remarks, which also centred on the need for coordinated action, President Gnassingbe listed the three principles that should drive the anti-Ebola campaign as common vision, solidarity and effective strategy.

He called for intensification of national and cross-border sanitation control and the political will to overcome the region’s common public health challenges.

To deal with the myriad of public health and sanitation crises confronting the region, including Ebola, President Gnassinbe reiterated the urgent need for the strengthening of national health systems through the allocation of adequate national budgets to health in conformity with the 2000 Abuja Declaration by African leaders.

Speaking in the same vein, the President of the ECOWAS Commission, Kadré Desire Ouédraogo, said: “As long as the countries of our Community and others have not been declared Ebola-free, this scourge remains a major preoccupation for our Community.

He, however, expressed optimism that under the leadership of the ECOWAS Chairman and President Gnassingbe, the Coordinator of anti-Ebola fight, “there would be improved coordination of our efforts with those of our partners, among others, to achieve an accelerated response.”

Ouédraogo said the situation called for the establishment of consultation and coordination framework as well as the identification of roles for stakeholders, namely Member States, regional organizations, particularly ECOWAS, the African Union, WHO, the UN Mission for Ebola Emergency Response (UNMEER), bilateral and multilateral partners, as well as the private sector and civil society.

The battle against Ebola “would be won more rapidly and more sustainably if we pool our resources together and coordinate our efforts,” he added

Dr. Mohamed Ibn Chambas, Special Representative of the UN Secretary and Head of UN Office for West Africa (UNOWA), commended ECOWAS for galvanizing the regional response to counter the Ebola epidemic and pledged UN’s continued support to defeat the disease.

In his remarks on behalf of the US Government, the American Ambassador to Ghana, Mr. Gene Cretz, reaffirmed his country’s continued commitment “to stand hand-in-hand and work collectively with our West African friends and global allies to fight the scourge of Ebola.”

He said it was only through effective collaboration “that West Africa and the world can succeed against this dangerous disease, devastating not only to human life, but also to development.”

The meeting, which was also attended by government ministers, ambassadors and representatives of development partners including the World Bank, FAO, EU, the African Union, and the private sector, among others, later adopted the report of the Technical Coordination session held on Thursday.
-0- PANA VAO 17Jan2015

17 يناير 2015 16:34:38

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