Prez Mahama Wants Collective Efforts Against Ebola

President John Dramani Mahama on Thursday appealed to Heads of State in the West African sub region to spearhead the fight against Ebola in order to attract international sympathy. He said: "We cannot and must not leave them as the disease found them... And the devastations in those countries should not signal the end of these countries". President Mahama said this when he opened the Extraordinary session of the Economic Community of West African States(ECOWAS) Authority of Heads of State and Government in Accra. The session, which is at the behest of President Mahama, the ECOWAS Chairman, is to present and consider a memorandum of the Commission on the situation of Ebola in the sub-region. They would also present and deliberate on a report of the Ministerial Coordination Committee and consider updates on the situation in Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone. The session was attended by Presidents of Ghana, Mali, Togo, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Niger, Cote D'ivoire and Senegal, while Nigeria was represented by the Vice President. Liberia, Gambia, Cape Verde, Guinea, Sierra Leone were represented by Ministers while Burkina Faso was represented by a government official. President Mahama said there was no need dwelling so much on the effects that the disease had created, but to channel energies towards finding lasting solutions to the epidemic in the sub-region. He said while 2000 children in Liberia alone were newly orphaned by the Ebola disease, the three countries were facing economic nosedive as farming activities had been stalled over the months. He expressed the fear that the issue, if not properly handled could have spillover in other countries adding "Ebola is no longer a Liberian, Guinean or Sierra Leonean problem, not a West African problem, but an international issue that needs immediate attention." The ECOWAS President said apart from crumbling the economies of the three countries, the Ebola virus disease had also disrupted cultural activities in those countries. As a result, he said, social activities such as; funerals, weddings and other ceremonies that were revered in the continent could no longer be organised for fear of the disease. "The unfortunate thing about these countries is that it has affected countries that were recovering from the ravages of war and conflicts and they therefore need the support of all to survive the epidemic." Mr Kadre Desire Quedraogo, President of the ECOWAS Commission, commended countries and organisations that had so far donated towards the survival of the victims in the affected countries. He promised that the ECOWAS would continue to offer the necessary coordination that would help to galvanize support for the affected countries in the coming years. Dr Mohammed Ibn Chambas, a Special AU envoy to the session, expressed their willingness to offer any form of support to the affected countries in subsequent times.