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As host of UN hub against Ebola, Ghana calls for cooperated efforts to halt outbreak

August - November 2019

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As host of UN hub against Ebola, Ghana calls for cooperated efforts to halt outbreak

President John Dramani Mahama of Ghana addresses the General Assembly. UN Photo/Cia Pak
President John Dramani Mahama of Ghana addresses the General Assembly. UN Photo/Cia Pak

25 September 2014 – We cannot afford to let fear keep us away, the President of Ghana today told the United Nations General Assembly calling for a sustained, coordinated international effort to stem the outbreak of the Ebola virus which he calls a “disease of isolation.”

“Ebola is a problem that belongs to the world because it is a disease that knows no boundaries,” said President John Dramani Mahama of Ghana, whose capital will be the base of operations for activities geared toward containing the disease.

Accra will be the headquarters for the recently established UN Mission for Ebola Emergency Response (UNMEER), with offices in the three main affected countries: Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.

In parallel to today’s high-level speeches in the renovated General Assembly Hall,Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is meeting with world leaders to ramp up the response to the outbreak. The disease is believed to have killed more than 2,800 people.

“What makes Ebola so dangerous is that the virus dares us to compromise the impulses that exist at the very core of our humanity: our impulse to comfort one another with love; to care for each other with the healing power of touch; and, to maintain the dignity of our loved ones even in death with a public funeral and properly marked grave,” Mr. Mahama said.

The UN World Health Organization (WHO) predicts that if the outbreak is not controlled, the number of cases could rise to 20,000 by as early as November.

Yet despite the dire statistics, he said: “We cannot afford to let fear keep us away. We cannot afford to let it compromise the very impulses that not only define but retain our humanity. We must erase the stigma.”

Mr. Mahama, who visited the three impacted countries last week in his capacity as chair of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), noted that even before the outbreak, these countries lacked professional medical workers.

He also noted that just as Ebola was able to freely pass through West African borders, so could drugs, arms, human traffickers and terrorists, and called for greater cooperation and coordination to conquer common threats.