The international community is now faced with “a critical turning point” in defeating Ebola, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said at a United Nations Headquarters event last night, as he urged support to the affected countries to build back stronger.
“There are encouraging signs that the worst of the outbreak is behind us. This year has seen a significant decline in new cases. Surge efforts are under way to bring the outbreaks further under control ahead of the rains,” Mr. Ban said.
The Secretary-General in his remarks recalled his trip to the affected Ebola region last December, to assess the progress in Guinea, Liberia, Mali, and Sierra Leone.
“I came back inspired by the courage of the survivors and those working selflessly at the front lines,” Mr. Ban said remembering that just “five months ago, the forecast was bleak.”
“But today, we face a very different situation. We know that Ebola can be beaten. At the heart of the success has been the response of communities and local and national authorities,” he added.
The world united in an unprecedented global coalition of governments, regional organizations, civil society actors, development banks and philanthropic foundations. Countries from near and far, of great and small states, have deployed experts, donated supplies and contributed funds, Mr. Ban said.
The United Nations has played an important role, he said, highlighting the work of the UN Mission for Ebola Emergency Response – UNMEER – the first-ever emergency health mission. Mr. Ban pledged UN commitment to reach the target set by the Presidents of the Mano River Union of no more new cases by mid-April.
Today the European Commission held a high-level conference in Brussels to help focus global resolve on finishing the job of ending Ebola in West Africa.
“The outbreak began with one case and will not be over until all countries are totally free of Ebola. And after the outbreak is over, there will be much work to do to help the affected countries recover and build back stronger and more resilient,” the Secretary-General said.
The concert “Stop Ebola and Build for the Future” was organized by the Government of São Tomé and Principe, in part with the Friendship Ambassadors Foundation, the United African Congress and the Give them a Hand Foundation.