Thursday, July 23, 2015

Equatorial Guinea Hosts International Conference On Africa's Fight Against Ebola

Obiang Announces Three Million Dollar Contribution to Help Countries Affected by Virus

President Obiang Nguema Mbasogo yesterday announced that Equatorial Guinea would contribute US$3 million to assist countries affected by the Ebola outbreak in Africa. He made the announcement at the opening ceremony of the International Conference on Africa's Fight Against Ebola, aimed at taking action, obtaining help and the necessary resources to fight Ebola.

The Government of Equatorial Guinea offered to organize this conference so that African nations could adopt common measures to deal with the disease. President Obiang said, "African countries should lead the efforts to find solutions to the problems that affect them. We must act together in the absence of an effective treatment of this disease, because only with an agreement of solidarity can we help the affected countries."

Obiang also referred to the solutions taken in Equatorial Guinea to prevent the disease, and reported that the country now has valuable laboratories and specialized staff working in this area. The government of Equatorial Guinea has spent more than US$13 million in recent weeks to fight the Ebola virus, according to the Ministry of Health. The government took a number of preventive measures after it formed a national commission to lead anti-Ebola efforts.

Equatorial Guinea has taken a proactive approach to the Ebola threat as it continues to affect neighboring regions at a reduced level. It has purchased special ambulances, ambulatory hospitals (tents) and thermographic cameras for airports (which will be used to detect whether an arrival has had a fever in the prior 72 hours), trained health personnel assigned to these health units, and purchased drugs for palliative treatment and laser thermometers for all the borders, among other initiatives.

President Obiang also recalled the success that African countries have had in dealing with the problem of hunger in the Horn of Africa.

He called on neighboring countries to support the creation of an African Center for Prevention and Control of Endemic Diseases, an organization that was suggested and approved in previous days by the ministers of health of the continent.

The president of Zimbabwe and acting chairman of the African Union (AU), Robert Mugabe, said, "We must work in reinforcing the measures of surveillance in order to avoid any epidemic situation." He also said there was a need to accelerate the establishment of early-warning and response systems, such as systems to aid in early diagnosis of diseases. Mugabe also urged cancellation of the debts of the affected countries, with the aim of establishing normality in the sectors of education and agriculture, and the reestablishment of international activities, which were all but eliminated by the disease.

"We want to assure that each cent that we have collected is going to count in alleviating the suffering of our brothers and fight the disease," he said. We must concentrate on the lessons learned in the fight against Ebola and any disease, and continue promoting our cooperation to maintain the drive in the fight against it."
He concluded, "We must see this situation in multiple ways and address the reconstruction of a regional emergence to strengthen our health systems. Together, we must unite our efforts to combat this evil. We need to find the conditions for ending this pandemic. For now, prevention is the only cure; we must be alert and accelerate our investment to work on health care."

The representatives of the countries most affected by the Ebola virus, including Sierra Leone, Liberia and Republic of Guinea Conakry, briefed the conference on the measures their countries are taking in response to the disease. They explained their social recovery program and their initiatives to reinforce their health systems.

The majority of delegations attending the conference offered economic aid in the fight against Ebola. The representative of the People's Republic of China assured an economic contribution of US$5 million, plus another two million dollars for the Fund of the Fight Against Diseases of the AU. China has helped the affected countries by building portable laboratories in Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea that carried out more than five thousand tests to detect the disease.

The representative of the United States announced a donation of US$6 million to work to improve the ability of the affected countries to respond to potential epidemics. The representative of the African Development Bank (AfDB) said that the bank had already allocated US$60 million to the affected countries and one hundred fifty million dollars for the AU. In addition, it has committed another US$300 million, which will fund an epidemiological surveillance network.

The African Union and the Government of Equatorial Guinea sponsored the International Conference on Africa's Fight Against Ebola, which was held at the Sipopo Conference Center in the capital city of Malabo. African Heads of State and representatives of major international institutions attended the conference on July 21.