Ghana: Ebola Regional Solidarity Fund boosted by more states' contributions (Eds: Refiling to correct contributions from US$9.0m to US$7.7m)

Accra, Ghana (PANA) - More ECOWAS Member States have announced financial contributions raising to US$7.7 million the total of the regional Solidarity Fund to fight Ebola.

At the ECOWAS extra-ordinary summit in Accra, Ghana, on Ebola and Burkina Faso on Friday, Nigeria, which had earlier contributed US$3.5 million to the Fund, pledged additional US$1 million and affirmed its willingness to make available 500 health volunteers to help fight the disease in affected ECOWAS countries.

An ECOWAS Commission statement 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 Nov. 2014 summit, the West African Economic and Monetary Union (UEMOA) presented a cheque for US$1.5 million to ECOWAS Chairman and Ghana’s President John Dramani Mahama to strengthen the Ebola fight in the three most affected ECOWAS member States (Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone).

ECOWAS has already donated US$1 million to each of the three Member States within the context of the multi-sectoral 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 some 5,000 lives from the 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.

Member States were also enjoined to conduct extensive public education communication and awareness on Ebola with a view to preventing the stigmatisation 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 increasing resource allocation to the health sector at a minimum of 15% of national budgets in accordance with the Abuja Declaration.

The ECOWAS Commission was also directed 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 regional leaders equally urged the private sector, civil society, regional and international humanitarian and development organisations to intensify technical, financial and institutional assistance to rid the region of the Ebola scourge.
-0- PANA MA/SEG 10Nov2014

10 november 2014 07:53:45

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