During the International Ebola Recovery Conference, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon spoke on Friday urging continued vigilance toward bringing the West African Ebola virus outbreak to an end.
He began the statement by offering gratitude to the presidents of the three African countries that have been at the center of the Ebola outbreak: Ernest Koroma of Sierra Leone, Alpha Condé of Guinea and Ellen Sirleaf of Liberia. He also expressed gratitude for the attendance of World Health Organization Director Dr. Margaret Chan and African Union President Robert Mugabe, of Zimbabwe.
Ki-moon also offered gratitude to the donor countries, non-governmental societies and organizations and those domestic and international responders that have provided support in any form toward facilitating efforts against the virus.
"Cases in Guinea and Sierra Leone have been reduced considerably," Ki-moon said. "The response is being fine-tuned to focus on increasing engagement, awareness and contact tracing in the remaining affected communities. New cases in Liberia show the need for continued vigilance given the regional risks. The Liberian government’s proactive actions also underscore how the response strategy has effectively reinforced national capacities and knowledge to be activated for future outbreaks."
He also noted that, while progress has been made, there is still work to be done to bring Ebola cases in the region to zero and to facilitate the recovery of those impacted by the outbreak's aftermath. He stressed that response efforts are not enough in an outbreak of this magnitude, but that the international community needs to lay the groundwork toward health security and help strengthen domestic and international health systems.