Nairobi, Kenya - President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has called the attention of the international community to the need for resilient health systems to be built in developing countries in order to avert pandemic global proportions.
Speaking at the 6th edition of TICAD in Nairobi today, the President said there is a tendency for an apparent local outbreak such as Ebola to spiral out of control and become and international health crises. She urged the gathering to support the efforts of countries with inadequate health systems.
President Sirleaf used the occasion to thank the government and people of Japan for their strong support and continuous engagement with the Continent of Africa through the activities and programs of the Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD).
She also commended the exemplary leadership of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe for the decision to host TICAD VI in Nairobi, and extended gratitude to President Uhuru Kenyatta and the people of Kenya for hosting of TICAD VI for the first time in Africa which symbolizes Japan’s desire to reinforce Africa’s ownership of the development initiatives.
“We are pleased that the organizers of this event have dedicated a special session to discuss one of the global challenges of our time – building a resilient health system under the topic “Promoting Resilient Health Systems for Quality of Life”.
In the aftermath of the devastating effects of the Ebola virus disease, this subject resonates very strongly in the three most affected countries”.
President Sirleaf said the devastation of Ebola was more profound in that it led to the near collapse of the economy that was on the way, at 5.9 percent growth rate, to rebound from the shock of sharp decline in global commodity prices.
The effect of the crisis went beyond devastation in the affected countries and region as it quickly escalated to a global crisis, she added.
President Sirleaf said the promotion of communication, participation and leadership from the community led to more results in more sustainability in preparedness and resilience. She cited the involvement of community volunteers who built confidence and increased public health awareness at a very low cost.
Community mobilization provided citizens the opportunity to take ownership of their wellbeing and health, thus increasing life expectancy and happiness, the President added.
As a manifestation of the benefits of African solidarity, President Sirleaf said although several countries, on a bilateral basis, took action and decisions that stigmatized and sanctioned the affected countries, the Africa Union quickly established the first medical response group, the African Union Support to Ebola Outbreak in West Africa (ASEOWA), which brought 265 professional health care workers from 7 countries to join Nationals in the fight against the disease. Bilateral support from several friendly African countries also played an important role, she said.
“I wish to express, on behalf of the Liberian people, thanks to you, Prime Minister Abe and the people of Japan for the bilateral support given the affected countries through ASEOWA”, the President told the Forum.