Ghana: Mahama calls for more support for Ebola-affected countries

Accra, Ghana (PANA) -  A High Level Coordination Meeting of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and its partners on the Ebola virus opened in Accra on Friday with an appeal from Ghana's President John Mahama for more  financial support for the three most affected countries of the deadly disease.

The Ghanaian president, who is also the chairman of ECOWAS, said there was the need for a more coordinated effort to fight the disease.

He said although there were signs of a slowdown in cases and deaths of Ebola there should not be any complacency.

“Ebola continues to pose a major threat to public health and security of the people in our sub-region and the world at large,” President Mahama said.

“I therefore wish to entreat all nations and all institutions to provide maximum support to the affected countries and ensure that the epidemic is brought under control as quickly as possible. This is the surest way our sub-region and the entire world would be assured of safety and security from the menace of Ebola.”

The one-day meeting will take stock of the various partner and stakeholder initiatives within the context of an integrated regional response to the Ebola epidemic. The three worst affected countries – Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone – have been battling the disease which broke out about one year ago.

It will also discuss the effective coordination of the Ebola response initiatives and provide a platform for the sharing of information on the situation in affected member states.

President Mahama noted though international response has been very positive and the reported case incidence continues to fluctuate in Guinea, “there is no identifiable downwards trend yet and the outbreak continues to spread geographically within the country”.

The case incidence, he said, had declined to “significantly low levels” in Liberia and there were signs of incidences levelling off in Sierra Leone although transmission remains intense in that country.

Ghana's Health minister, Kwaku Agyeman-Mensah, who opened a Technical Coordination meeting held in Accra on Thursday, urged ECOWAS Member States to set up Rapid Response Teams at national, district and regional levels, supported by Inter-Ministerial Coordinating Committees, as part of the preparedness and containment mechanisms against the deadly Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) epidemic in the region.

The World Health Organisation says EVD has claimed more than 8,400 lives from over 21,000 reported cases, mainly in the three countries.

Togolese President Faure Gnassingbe, who is the ECOWAS contact person on Ebola, said education on the disease should continue despite a slowdown in the incidence of the disease.

ECOWAS partners attending the meetings include the WHO, the African Union, the UN Mission for Ebola Emergency Response (UNMEER), as well as European Union and US.
-0- PANA MA/AR 16Jan2015

16 january 2015 16:08:55

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