As Liberia nears end of Ebola outbreak, officials caution against complacency

As Liberia comes closer to eradicating the Ebola virus, officials stress the need for continued support and warned the U.N. Security Council of the potential risks of complacency on Tuesday.

Head of the U.N. Mission to Liberia Karin Landgren stated that this epidemic highlighted weaknesses in several areas including their health system and infrastructure. The Security Council also listened to Liberian Minister for Justice, Benedict Sannoh, and Chair of the Peacebuilding Commission, Olof Skoog, of Sweden.

If no cases are confirmed between now and May 9, the country is expected to be declared free of the virus, based on the World Health Organization's requirement of 42 days without a new case. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that the last person who was confirmed with the virus died on March 27.

A report from Landgren indicates that among Liberian citizens there is a distrust of the government, which has a history of corruption, and many were angry at governmental response, calling it slow to start; furthermore, as a result, commodities increased in cost.

Skoog visited Liberia in April and indicated the need for socioeconomic improvements across the board. He also stated that there is a need to improve the trust of the government and that accountability, capacity and legitimacy need to be upheld and strengthened.

Sannoh addressed the council as a representative of the Liberian government and stated that the corruption and impunity described in Landgren's report is due to capacity challenges, not a lack of will to change them.

He affirmed that the government will continue its efforts to end the epidemic and look forward to international partnerships in order to improve mentioned socioeconomic conditions.

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