Ghana: Ghana President Mahama appeals for more aid to stop Ebola pandemic

Accra, Ghana (PANA) - Ghana's president John Mahama on Thursday opened a two-day ECOWAS extraordinary summit to discuss the Ebola outbreak with an appeal for more aid to stop its devastating spread.

He noted from a slow response from the international community, numerous nations and organizations had now come forward with offers of aid, ranging from equipment to food, medical personnel and financial assistance.

"I would like to express my sincere appreciation to these nations and organizations for their much-needed support and interventions," he said.

He added, however, that there was still so much more that needed to be done, and received, in order to help the affected nations - Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone - to continue their fight to stop the spread of Ebola.

He said the purpose of the Accra meeting was to ensure that the best possible use is made of this aid by assessing what was needed, matching it with what had been offered and identifying the gaps that remained so that they, too, can be filled and the world can effectively and efficiently bring an end to this terrible epidemic.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has scaled down the number of deaths from about 4,922 to 4,818, saying some of the deaths were not related to the deadly disease.

The West African Monetary Union, through Benin's president Yayi Boni, presented a cheque for US$1.5 million to the three countries at the meeting.

President Mahama said: "The contributions that those of us who are gathered here today are making, however minor they may seem, will set in motion a chain of events that will ultimately lead to larger scale changes in the transformation of Liberia, Guinea, Sierra Leone and the entire West African sub-region.

President Mahama warned that the devastation of the Ebola epidemic did not have to signal an end for these countries.

"With the attention and the assistance of the world, it could also symbolize the birth of something vibrant and beautiful."

But he warned 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 had all but crumbled.

"The crops for this season were not harvested and the crops for coming seasons have not been planted, meaning that the suffering wrought by Ebola will last long after the epidemic has ended. And because the economies of all the nations in the sub-region are connected, that suffering will resound throughout all of West Africa, including the countries without any
recorded cases of Ebola."

President Mahama said what was most unfortunate about the occurrence of the Ebola epidemic in the three countries was that they were recovering from the effects of conflict, where infrastructures were already greatly lacking.

"With this in mind, the discussion of aid must include a plan for the future sustainability of these nations. We cannot and must not leave them as the disease found them. To do so would make all of our efforts and all of our assistance virtually meaningless as it would leave these countries, once again, vulnerable and defenseless against the threat of any future health crises," he said.

The meeting is expected to come out with a communique on the Ebola crisis and then discuss the political crisis in Burkina Faso on Friday.

President Mahama on Wednesday went to Burkina Faso with Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan and Senegalese President Makey Sall for talks with various stakeholders.

After the talks, the stakeholders agreed that a one year political transition that should end in elections in November 2015. However, the leader of the transition team has not agreed and President Mahama said the UN-AU-ECOWAS team would return to Burkina Faso after the Accra meeting to hammer out an agreement.

The military seized power after a massive protest a week ago by civilians forced long-serving President Blaise Compaore to resign and flee to Cote D'Ivoire.
-0- PANA MA/VAO 6Nov2014

06 november 2014 14:15:54

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