EU Crisis Response Team Meets President Koroma

President Ernest Bai Koroma on Friday 24th October received the Managing Director of the Crisis Response Department in the European Union External Action Service Dr Agostino Miozzo at his State Lodge, Hill Station. The delegation was in the country to exchange ideas on the way forward in tackling the Ebola outbreak.

President Koroma wasted no time to state that the country was engrossed in the transformation process in building the economy, infrastructure, improving social services and attracting foreign direct investment (FDI) as the second fastest growing economy not only in Africa but also in the world when Ebola struck. The outbreak, he said, has posed severe challenges to the entire governance structure and the economy.

He pointed out that in as much as government is focusing on containing and eliminating the virus, government is also aware of the socio-economic effects of the outbreak on other sectoral activities including mining, agriculture and investment. “We have the issue of fighting Ebola and to address the post Ebola effects of the epidemic,” he said.

On efforts to containing the virus, the president pointed out the need for more treatment centers, laboratories, logistical support and providing the required training to surveillance officers, contact tracers and burial teams across the country. He clearly said that government has done a lot in these areas, and added that there was need to ramp up efforts in order to move ahead of the virus.

He also welcomed the idea of taking a sub-regional approach to containing the outbreak as every effort made in any of the affected countries should be replicated across the sub-region and furthered that national plans should be in sync with the sub-regional approach for effective coordination.

He made clear that isolating the country will not help as it would worsen the situation and also impede ongoing efforts of the international community in addressing the crisis. “I think the focus should be on isolating the virus and not the country as Ebola is now a global issue. You should not seal off the country,” he stated.

The Managing Director of the Crisis Response Department in the European External Action Service Dr Agostino Miozzo said that owing to the enormity of the crisis, they were in the country to scale up the response efforts to contain the virus, and added that a sub-regional approach will be of immense help in tackling the situation.

Mr. Miozzo expressed firm conviction that the country should not be isolated: “We need to open up relations in order not to compound the situation,” he noted, and explained that their visit in the country has not only helped to identify Ebola as an area of intervention, but also saw the need to address other socio-economic issues like food security, social welfare, security and the public health system.

He informed President Koroma of the intensive discussion he had with the Minister of Health and Sanitation, Dr Abu Bakarr Fofanah and the newly appointed Chief Executive Officer of the National Ebola Response Centre (NERC) Rtd. Major Palo Conteh where he emphasized the need to move very fast.

Source : Government of Sierra Leone

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