The United Nations Secretary-General, Mr. Ban Ki-moon, has expressed gratitude and appreciation to the leadership of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf in the global response to the Ebola virus disease in the sub-region.
“I congratulate Liberia on being declared Ebola-free. This is with great credit to your personal leadership in uniting the country, and to the determination and resilience of the Liberian people in staying the course to reach this important milestone,” Mr. Ban said.
According to an Executive Mansion release, the commendation was contained in a personal letter to the Liberian Chief Executive.
Mr. Ban said the success of Liberia in getting to zero, as well as in transitioning the United Nations Mission for Ebola Emergency Response functions flawlessly to the United Nations country team, serves as a model to be emulated in other countries.
The UN Secretary-General stressed that while significant progress has been made to bring the outbreak under control in the three countries worse affected by the Ebola virus disease, he commended President Sirleaf’s efforts of continued vigilance to prevent against any risk of reoccurrence.
He said the strong stance by the leadership of the three countries worse affected by the disease represent a clear commitment to stand together as one in the fight against the terrible scourge until the sub-region has been declared Ebola-free. “This spirit of regional solidarity has defined this response from the onset,” Mr. Ban indicated, adding that the willingness of Liberia to share its knowledge and expertise with the other two countries to support their efforts to get to zero in this last mile of the response, is further demonstration to the strength of regional solidarity.
Mr. Ban urged that moving forward, all must think carefully about what lessons to draw from this crisis to strengthen public health infrastructure and crisis response mechanisms to withstand future outbreaks of infectious diseases.
He said, while the Ebola outbreak is not over, the sub-region must continue to persevere until they get to and stay to zero cases; pointing out that international focus, including that of the U.N., must also begin to turn towards supporting the three governments in the region (Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea), to recover and return to a path of sustainable development.
The UN Secretary-General hoped that the Liberian leader will join him and others at the upcoming International Ebola Recovery Conference scheduled to convene in New York, U.S.A. on July 10, 2015. He hoped that together, they can secure strong financial commitments in support of Liberia’s stabilization and recovery plan over the next 24 months.
“The post-Ebola period will be critical for Liberia,” he noted and encouraged President Sirleaf’s efforts to lead a collective process of national healing and recovery now that the emergency phase is over.
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