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Ebola Won’t Disrupt Free Movement In West Africa   
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Heads of State and Government of ECOWAS have allayed fears that the Ebola outbreak could disrupt the free movement of goods and people in the sub-region.

The leaders underlined their commitment to the ECOWAS principles of free movement in spite of the outbreak of the disease in some member countries.

A communique issued by the ECOWAS leaders at the end of their extraordinary summit in Accra on Thursday night, however, asked member countries to combine the free movement of people with strict health control measures at the entry points of their countries.

The summit devised strategies to strengthen the fight against the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) that has infected about 15,000 people and killed nearly 5,000 in some West African countries, mainly Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea. It also discussed the political situation in Burkina Fasso.

Heads of state who took part in the extraordinary summit were Presidents John Dramani Mahama of Ghana, who is chairman of ECOWAS, Alassane Ouattara of Côte d’Ivoire, Thomas Boni Yayi of Benin and Ibrahim Boubacar Keita of Mali.

The rest are José Mario Yaz of Guinea Bissau, Mahamadou Issofou of Niger, Faure Gnassingbe of Togo and Macky Sall of Senegal.

Nigeria was represented by the Vice President, Mohammed Sambo. Other Presidents were also represented by high-ranking government officials.
Charge to ECOWAS Commission

The communique directed the ECOWAS Commission to establish a regional centre for disease prevention and control, and to promote health research in West Africa.

It further asked the ECOWAS Commission to join in the effort to develop a vaccine for Ebola.

To advance the regional operational plan for Ebola response, the heads of state asked the ECOWAS Commission to adopt workable measures, in collaboration with stakeholders.

''The Authority directs the Commission to actively participate in the various actions undertaken to support the efforts of the Member States, particularly in the planning, implementation and coordination of all United Nations Mission for Ebola Emergency Response (UNMEER) and African Union activities in the region,'' the communique said.
Commitment of leaders

The communique said,''The Heads of State and Government reaffirmed their commitment to continue their joint and coordinated efforts in the determined fight against the Ebola Virus Disease.”.

Nigeria and Senegal were mentioned for their commendable actions to contain the disease when they recorded some cases. The communique expressed the hope that the other affected countries would achieve the same success.

Going forward, the leaders stressed the need for member countries of ECOWAS to come up with guidelines on treatment and management of Ebola in line with the World Health Organisation standards.

Member States, the communique said, must also contribute military personnel and logistics to the affected countries to complement other services being rendered in those countries. The member states were also asked to provide medical staff and volunteers.
Appointment of Gnassingbe

At the end of the summit, the Heads of State and Government appointed Togo's President Faure Gnassingbe as their supervisor on the Ebola Virus Disease response and eradication process.
Burkina Faso situation

On the Burkina Faso political crisis, the ECOWAS leaders welcomed the efforts so far made to return the country to constitutional democracy.

They commended the military leaders and other stakeholders for allowing peace to prevail.
Source: Daily Graphic

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