Brussels, 25 September 2014/ ACP: Several members of the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Group have stepped forward to support the fight against the ongoing ebola epidemic, in a show of solidarity with the countries affected in West Africa, as well as the Democratic Republic of Congo.
The governments of Kenya, Cuba, Equatorial Guinea, Namibia and Côte d’Ivoire are amongst those who announced contributions to efforts to stem the spread of the deadly virus, which has ravaged the West African countries of Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea, with a separate outbreak also occurring in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Cases in Nigeria and Senegal have been contained, according to the World Health Organisation.
The Republic of Equatorial Guinea, whose President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo is also the President-in-Office of the ACP Heads of State Summit, committed approximately USD 2 million to the cause, channelled through the WHO.
Meanwhile, at the ACP Committee of Ambassadors session in Brussels last Thursday, the Ambassador of Kenya H.E Mr. Johnson Weru announced Kenya’s contribution of USD 1 million.
“May I also add my voice in calling upon the international community and in particular Member states of the ACP fraternity, including the private sector, to come out strongly in solidarity and with whatever form of resources to contain the situation, given the likely economic, political and social consequences, most of which are yet to be experienced,” he stated.
Cuban ambassador H.E Mrs Mirtha Maria Castro also made an intervention of support.
“From the outset and regardless of the epidemic, Cuba has decided to keep the Cuban medical brigades in Africa, especially in Sierra Leone and Guinea Conakry. In addition to these brigades, Cuba will provide assistance through the WHO by sending specialized human resources with more than 15 years of experience,” she said, adding that the Cuban brigade will have 62 doctors and 103 nurses to arrive in Sierra Leone in the first week of October and remain for six months.
The governments of Namibia and Côte d’Ivoire have also reportedly each donated the equivalent of about USD$ 980,000 (NAD 11,000,000 and CFA 500,000,000 respectively). The Gambia donated USD 500,000 to its neighbour Sierra Leone, similar to Nigeria, which gave the same amount to Liberia. Meanwhile, the African Union has established a special mission to support the fight against ebola, in addition to assistance from major donors such as the European Union, which has pledged more than EUR 140 million, and the United States.
At the Committee of Ambassadors meeting, Chairman Dr Ousmane Sylla of Guinea called for an international conference of health ministers to deal with the issue in coming months.
In March, the WHO published formal notification of an outbreak of Ebola virus disease in Guinea on its website. On 8 August, WHO declared the epidemic to be a “public health emergency of international concern". To date, the death toll is approaching 3,000 and number of those infected surpassing 5,800. The global health body now predicts 20,000 cases of ebola by early November.
– ACP Press