Olusegun Obasanjo, the former Nigerian president, has visited Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia in solidarity with the West African nations hit by the Ebola virus disease.
Obasanjo arrived Guinea's capital city of Conakry on Thursday, February 19, and visited President Alpha Conde at the presidential palace.
Obasanjo confessed he was in Conakry to commiserate with the people over the losses suffered due to the Ebola outbreak: “I commiserate with you and congratulate you for the way and manner you have handled this crisis.”
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The former president reiterated his commitment to seeking international assistance for countries affected by the Ebola crisis: “I have been working closely with the African Union chairperson to raise funds from the private sector in Africa to support efforts to eradicate Ebola.”
He also added that, although Guinea and the other affected countries have reasonably contained the disease, it was important for global partners to provide assistance to victims and find ways to ensure such outbreaks are avoided in the future.
Moreover, he promised that children who have been orphaned by the virus would get support.
Responding to this, President Conde said Obasanjo’s visit came as no surprise to him even though other global leaders were reluctant to visit the Ebola-hit countries.
“At the moment, there are critical areas in which I would kindly request your urgent intervention. First, the affected countries will need debt relief from the international community. Second, there is the urgent need for a Marshall plan to help the countries recover from the disaster. We also need assistance to strengthen our health and education sectors to effectively deal with disasters of this kind.”
Obasanjo gave his assurance that he would seek international support for the affected countries.
In Sierra Leone, Obasanjo met with President Ernest Bai Koroma at his residence in Freetown. He also promised further international support for the affected country.
In his remarks, President Koroma thanked Obasanjo for his statesmanship. He urged the international community not to isolate the affected countries, but instead show empathy and offer assistance.
From Sierra Leone Obasanjo proceeded to Liberia where he met with President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf at her offices in Monrovia. During the meeting, discussions focused on post-Ebola economic recovery for the three worst-hit countries.
The Ebola virus causes the Ebola virus disease (EVD) or Ebola hemorrhagic fever (EHF) in humans and other primates. The virus may be acquired upon contact with blood or bodily fluids of an infected animal (commonly monkeys or fruit bats). The disease does not spread through the air, but, once human infection occurs, the disease may spread between people. Male survivors may be able to transmit the disease via semen for nearly two months.
The largest Ebola outbreak to date started in 2014 in West Africa, and currently affects Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia. The first case in Nigeria was officially reported on 25 Jul, 2014.