The Chairman of ECOWAS, President John Dramani Mahama, will host an emergency summit of West African leaders on Ebola in Accra in the first week of November.
The one-day meeting, which will also be attended by other stakeholders, including representatives of the World Health Organisation (WHO), will review the Ebola virus disease situation in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea and come up with further strategies for its control.
President Mahama announced this when a delegation of the United Nations Mission on Emergency Ebola Response (UNMEER) called on him at his residence in Accra last Saturday.
The delegation briefed the President on current developments in the Ebola-affected countries.
President Mahama said the scope of discussions at the summit would cover all nations on the globe and reiterated that ?ECOWAS could not battle the disease alone and needed the input of the entire world.
The ECOWAS Chairman said what was even more dangerous was that the disease was breaking barriers and that no one could predict where it would hit the next time.
?At ?the United Nations, I made it clear that Ebola should not be seen as a West African, Liberian, Guinean or Sierra Leonean problem.
“As if I was a prophet! What I said at the UN is coming into reality,” he said.
President Mahama said the Ebola virus disease being new to West Africa contributed to the region?s inability to contain it from the beginning.
The culture of the free movement of people in the West-African sub-region could aggravate the situation, he noted, and expressed delight at the efforts by Nigeria and Senegal to contain the disease when it struck them.
President Mahama stressed the need for training on Ebola for health workers to ensure their safety.
“We can’t afford to lose our health workers because already the sub-region lacks health workers,” he said.
He commended Cuba for sending 117 volunteers to the affected countries to help battle the disease.
The ECOWAS Ebola Solidarity Fund, which was set up recently, has generated about $6 million.
President Mahama said the fund was expected to accrue $10 million soon to be given to the affected countries to fight the disease.
Already, $3 million has been sent to the three countries.
Leader of delegation
The Chief of Staff at the Office of the UN Secretary General, Ms Susana Malcorra, who led the delegation, praised President Mahama for his extraordinary commitment to the fight against Ebola.
“It takes a great deal of courage to take the steps you have taken so far,? she added.
She said UNMEER was considering using local faith-based organisations to disseminate information on Ebola in the three countries.
She took notice of the under-developed health systems in the affected countries and said that could contribute to under reporting of cases.