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Pres. Sirleaf briefs UN Ebola Assessment Team

President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has held talks with a United Nations Ebola Assessment delegation which include representatives from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), World Bank (WB), African Development Bank (AfDB) and the European Commission (EC).

According to an Executive Mansion release, at the meeting, the Liberian leader welcomed the UN Assessment Team to Liberia and requested a full understanding of its work reference.

She provided updates on the current state of the Ebola fight and indicated that steps towards transitioning from Ebola treatment and prevention to restoring basic healthcare services are well on course.

President Sirleaf admitted that the outbreak of the Ebola virus disease exposed the weakness of the country’s healthcare system and spoke of the need to ensure that the Ebola disease leaves the country with a strengthened healthcare system.

“The effort to strengthen the healthcare system is paramount and the process has already begun in partnership with the Clinton Health Initiative. A 10-year Healthcare Plan that primarily focuses on training and building the capacity of healthcare workers which was developed prior to the Ebola crisis is being adjusted to reflect current day reality,” President Sirleaf indicated.

She stressed that improvement in the country’s healthcare system is linked to economic recovery and noted that it is important that the role of the private sector in national plans is key and critical both in terms of their needs and potentials.

President Sirleaf acknowledged that community ownership in the Ebola fight made a big difference in containing the virus and emphasized the need for both local and international accountability now and the post-Ebola period.

Speaking earlier, the head of delegation of the UN Ebola Assessment Team, Stan Nkwain, informed the Liberian President that the assessment mission was requested by the Secretary General of the United Nations, Mr. Ban Ki-moon to begin plans with the government on actions, plans, interventions and programs to be undertaken during the post-Ebola period.

“We have not come to determine for the government what must be done post-Ebola, but to listen and know what the government and the country intend to undertake after the Ebola crisis. We cannot wait to reach zero case level before beginning the process,” he pointed out.

Mr. Nkwain clarified that the mission’s interventions and work is not an independent assessment, but an exercise intended to liaise with the government and help build upon what the government is already planning and doing. “This action which is a two-day mission seeks to mobilize international momentum for the post-Ebola recovery period,” he indicated.

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