Foreign Minister Ngafuan Updates Lawmakers On Ebola Donations

Foreign Minister Ngafuan as he gives an update on Ebola Donations to  Lawmakers
Foreign Minister Ngafuan as he gives an update on Ebola Donations to Lawmakers
Photo Credit: Public Affairs

Foreign Minister Augustine KpeheNgafuan has provided an update on financial and material assistance provided thus far by friendly Governments, international organizations and humanitarian partners across the globe towards Liberia's fight against the Ebola virus.


Responding to a request from members of the House of Representatives to provide them update on the number of donations coming to Liberia relative to the fight against Ebola, Minister Ngafuan told the august body on Thursday, 17th October  that as a result of frantic international engagements spearheaded by President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and buttressed mainly by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and other government institutions, the Liberian Government has attracted numerous global assistance in the country's bid to fight the virus.


A Foreign Ministry release says the Foreign Minister highlighted the President's personal efforts including writing letters to major leaders  in the international community including the Joint Communication she and her Sierra Leonean and Guinean counterparts (Presidents Ernest BaiKoroma and Alpha Condo) wrote to the United Nations Secretary General appealing for urgent and robust action;, personal letters  to world leaders including US President Barack Obama, German Chancellor Merkel, and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe as well as direct phone calls to  world leaders and partners updating them on the severity of the problem and requesting support.


Minister Ngafuan noted that Ministry of Foreign Affairs has also been playing a major role in attracting international assistance in the Ebola fight by sending out diplomatic communications to foreign missions accredited to Liberia as well as to other bilateral and multilateral partners via Liberian missions accredited to foreign parts; and following up through several meetings involving the Minister of Foreign Affairs and officials of the Ministry including Liberian Ambassadors accredited  abroad.  The Minister also informed that he and other government officials have been able to attract international assistance by providing updates on the prevailing challenges in the Ebola fight at several multilateral fora including at ECOWAS, the African Union, and at the United Nations. 


Minister Ngafuan informed the House that these robust engagements has translated into the inflow of assistance from the international community, the bulk of which has been channeled through the World Health Organization, UNICEF, and IFRC, and other international NGO’s..  He stressed that besides donations of US$4.5 million from the World Bank and US$100,000 from the Federal Republic of Nigeria, the GOL Ebola Trust Fund has received no other international contribution.  He however said that  US$1 million from the Chinese Government, US$330,000 from Kenya,  US$150,000 from the African Union and US$65,000 from Botswana are in process and will be deposited in the GOL Trust Fund Account.


Among some of the major assistance the Minister talked about include the start of deployment by the US Government of 3,000 troops comprising medical and engineering personnel to, among other things, assist in building 17 Ebola Treatment Units (ETU’s) across Liberia and train medical staff.  He noted that the US Government has so far spent approximately US$70 million in Liberia in the fight against Ebola, US$60 million of which has been channeled through various international implementing partners and US$10 million to the government of Liberia to buttress Government’s ability to pay health workers.

 He said the People’s Republic of China has contributed a total of US$5.2 million dollar, which includes the shipment of personal protective equipment (PPE) and medical supplies costing US$1.8 million in early September, at the time the biggest donation of supplies that had been shipped to Liberia. He noted that China has also deployed an 8-member team of medical doctors to Liberia and was planning to build one ETU in the country.


The Minister also informed the House of the deployment of 36 medical doctors from the African Union; the  deployment in the coming days by Cuba of a 50-member team; the planned deployment by Germany of approximately 75 medical persons to help run an ETU whose construction and operation will be by financed by that country; Japanese assistance in the form of  supplies and equipment amounting to nearly US$ 3 million; and the announcement by Israel of a pending donation of a 20-bed mobile clinic well equipped with Ebola treatment materials and volunteer health professionals.


Minister Ngafuan also informed the Legislature that the UN, in response to appeals from leaders of Ebola affected countries, has established the first UN mission to deal with a health crisis named the United Nations Mission for Emergency on Ebola Response (UNMEER). Minister Ngafuan noted that the UNMEER would be headquarted in Accra but would have country offices in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea and would be disbanded as soon as Ebola is defeated.


He then named several African countries including the Federal Republic of Nigeria, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Botswana, Kenya, and Morocco that have joined the fight against the Ebola disease while signaling out Morocco as an African country that has allowed its airline to fly in and out of Liberia despite the outbreak in the midst of other international carriers adopting a wait-posture.


Particularly hailing Nigeria for its humanitarian contribution towards the fight against the disease, the Foreign Minister revealed Nigeria's commitment to deploy about 591 health workers in Liberia, Guinea, and Sierra Leone as part of efforts to curbing the Ebola virus in the region. He also disclosed that Nigeria made a donation of US$500,000, out of which US$400,000 is going towards ECOWAS Ebola Trust Fund on Ebola Response while US$100,000 is committed to


The Foreign Minister's detailed update of Ebola response from friendly governments and bilateral and multination partners followed an endorsement of a request from Nimba County Representative Worlea-SaywahDunah to invite him to report to the Legislature “on the flow of international assistance and goodwill to this government through his office.”