Mr. Anthony Banbury, special representative of the UN Secretary General, has lauded the Japanese government for its multi-dimensional response to the global efforts to fight the spread of the Ebola Virus Disease.
He said the Japanese government had shown great leadership in the fight, having supported the global response with materials including Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs), services, deployment of emergency response teams and financial contributions totaling about $140 million to cater for short term emergency response in affected areas.
Mr. Banbury made the statement at the Kotoka International Airport on Monday, when the Japanese government presented 20,000 sets of PPEs and other important supplies to the United Nations Mission for Ebola Emergency Response (UNMEER), in support of the global response to the Ebola crisis.
It was the first time the Japan Air Self-Defense Force had flown to West Africa on an operation, in response to the request from the UNMEER for ensuring rapid delivery.
Mr. Banbury said the PPEs will contribute significantly towards empowering health workers in the affected countries to carry out their normal duties.
He said: ?People in affected countries are afraid to go to medical facilities for fear of contracting the Ebola Virus Disease, while health workers had contracted the disease on non-Ebola settings.
?Thus, there is need to support the rebuilding of the health systems in these countries and provide health workers with protective equipment that would allow them to safely carry out their normal duties such attending to pregnant women and children who visit health facilities.?
Mr. Shigenobu Kobayashi, Team Leader of the Japan Disaster Relief team, said the Japanese government would provide a total of about 700,000 PPEs to affected countries through UNMEER.
The 20,000 sets brought on Monday would be distributed by UNMEER among three of the countries most affected by the disease: Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea. He stated that Sierra Leone and Liberia will each receive 5,000 sets of the PPEs, while the remaining 10,000 will be given to Guinea.
He said: ?the government of Japan recognizes that the Ebola crisis is not only a West African problem but a global one affecting all nations and posing a threat to international peace and security.?
Mali would receive equipment when the other batches of equipment are delivered.
Mr. Kaba Arafan, Guinean Ambassador to Ghana, said his country really needed the equipment and was very grateful to the Japanese government for the support.
He added that he was confident that health systems in the West African sub region would improve greatly at the end of this crisis, as governments had been obliged to strengthen the systems in the respective countries in anticipation of the Ebola disease spreading there.
Bakie Remoa Doherty, Charge des affairs at the Sierra Leone High Commission, said her country had lost 11 out of the almost 300 doctors since the onset of the disease; a big blow to its healthcare system.
The equipment, she said, would thus be very instrumental in helping to protect those at the forefront of the fight against Ebola.
She thanked international partners for coming to their aid in their time of need. She also commended Ghana for agreeing to host UNMEER; a move she described as a lifeline, especially since most flights to affected areas no longer operate which would have made it difficult to get assistance to these countries without this arrangement.