Malabo – President Muhammadu Buhari has announced a donation of US$1 million on Tuesday July 21, 2015 at the International Conference on Africa’s Fight Against Ebola holding in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea to the cause of Ebola Virus Disease in addition to the earlier contributions by Nigeria towards stemming the disease in the region.
“This, he said is to underscore the importance of Africa’s efforts to rid the continent of the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) and in the spirit of Africa helping Africans in the Ebola recovery and reconstruction initiative.”
President Buhari, who was represented at the occasion by the Permanent Secretary in the Federal Ministry of Health, Linus Awute espoused on the experience gained by Nigeria in 2014 on the rapid containment of the deadly virus. While pointing out that Nigeria is not celebrating the end of Ebola in the country until the disease is totally eliminated from the West African Region, he explained that this is because the Ebola in one country remains a threat to others.
The President posited that meeting the challenge is crucial to the country at the moment and the country has remained committed to supporting all the efforts of the African Union in the fight. He affirmed that Nigeria is in full support of the establishment of the African Centre for Disease Control (ACDC) in collaboration with the Regional Centre for Disease Control towards significantly enhancing the health targets required to build International Health Regulations (IHR) capacities.
“The ECOWAS Region, he observed was the first to initiate the establishment of a Regional Centre for Disease Control in which the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) was designated the regional centre in recognition of its role in curtailing the spread of the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) in Nigeria and the region.”
According to him, Nigeria is supporting the research efforts for developing therapies and vaccines against the disease. He further explained that these efforts have led to the development of promising Ebola therapies through varied government and private sector partnerships. Adding, Nigeria welcomed the AU Peace and Security Council’s decision taken at its 450th meeting on August 19th 2014 which was to deploy volunteers to support the Ebola affected countries in West Africa through the African Union Support to Ebola Outbreak in West Africa (ASEOWA).
Muhammadu Buhari informed that Nigeria was among the first countries to respond by deploying 198 personnel to serve in the ASEOWA Mission which contributed to the progress made in the affected counties by reducing Ebola cases from about 400 per week in 2014 to less than 30 in 2015. He also observed that the success encouraged governments and partners to embark on disengaging or reducing their support in human and material resources, even though the mission of the ASEOWA to stop Ebola transmission in the affected member states, prevent international spread and rebuild health systems has not yet been fully achieved.
“The recent flare-ups and upsurge of cases in Sierra Leone and Guinea and the re-appearance of cases in Liberia after being certified Ebola – free by the World Health Organization confirms that Africa is dealing with a regional and international health security emergency of larger proportion. The African Union Commission (AUC) should reconsider the immediate re-deployment of volunteers to the affected countries until the job is done,” the President charged.
In a related development, performances by local artists and remarks by the President of Equatorial Guinea – Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasongo and the President of Zimbabwe – Robert Mugabe, who is the Chairman of the African Union amongst others were presented to mark the opening ceremony of the conference.
Federal Ministry Of Health Report.