Ghana: Ebola response should address issues of fear, stigmatisation - Mahama

Accra, Ghana (PANA) - Regional and international responses to the Ebola scourge should “extend beyond the obvious and tangible needs” and address equally critical issues of fear and stigmatisation and the growing number of children being orphaned by the disease, ECOWAS chairman and Ghana’s President John Dramani Mahama has said.

He told a regional summit in Ghana's capital, Accra, Thursday that Liberia alone has registered more than 2,000 orphans, adding that about 50 percent of people fortunate to survive the disease in the region “are unable to return to homes in which they once lived or return to their former jobs”.

“With such large numbers of the labour force unable to work as a result of infection or quarantine measures, the economies of Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone have all but crumbled,” the ECOWAS chair told his colleagues while opening the extra-ordinary summit on Ebola.

Liberia is one of the three West African countries worst hit by the disease that has killed over 5,000 people. Others are Guinea and Sierra Leone.

“We cannot and must not leave them (counties) as the disease found them,” President Mahama said, adding: “To do so would make all our efforts and all of our assistance virtually meaningless.”

While acknowledging the success stories in Nigeria and Senegal, which have been declared Ebola-free by the World Health Organisation (WHO), the ECOWAS chairman insists that “there is so much more that needs to be done, and received,” to defeat the disease.

ECOWAS Commission President Kadré Desire Ouédraogo announced that the Commission had donated US$1 million to each of the three severely affected countries to help strengthen their fight against the disease

He commended the “great solidarity” with the regional response, and saluted the “memory of the thousands of victims, including national and foreign health workers,” and offered his “sincere condolences to their families and the people of the affected countries.”

PANA reported Friday that the summit has since ended with major decisions to tackle the pandemic, including the appointment of Togo's President Faure Gnassingbe as the supervisor of the disease response and eradication process, and the decision to set up a regional centre for disease prevention and control in West Africa and for the enhancement of health research in the sub-region.
-0- PANA SEG 7Nov2014

07 november 2014 10:25:24




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