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Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone Leaders to Discuss Ebola Efforts

  • James Butty

Presidents Sirleaf of Liberia and Koroma of Sierra Leone

Presidents Sirleaf of Liberia and Koroma of Sierra Leone

Three West African countries hard-hit by the Ebola epidemic are meeting Friday in Guinea’s capital, Conakry.

On Thursday, the World Health Organization (WHO) announced a $100 million response plan to combat the "unprecedented" level of the outbreak.

WHO also said the number of cases had risen to 1,323, with 729 deaths.

Mustapha Naite, Guinea’s Minister for Youth Employment, said Presidents Alpha Conde of Guinea, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf of Liberia and Ernest Bai Koroma of Sierra Leone will discuss how best they can coordinate a sub-regional response to the epidemic.

“The three presidents will meet and have a harmonized decision on how to best fight against Ebola so that one country cannot just move by itself; the three countries will have a strategized ways of fighting against this disease,” Naite said.

Liberia's actions

On Wednesday, Sirleaf announced steps to contain the Ebola virus from spreading further by ordering the closure of schools across Liberia as well all markets along Liberia’s borders with Sierra Leone and Guinea.

Earlier in the week, the Liberian leader closed her country’s borders with Sierra Leone and Guinea.

Naite said the leaders will coordinate an approach to fighting the epidemic.

“It will not be efficient for one country to just have its measures apply. It should be a regionalized strategy to stop this outbreak,” he said.

The WHO also said that as of July 27, a total of 460 Ebola cases were reported in Guinea, with 339 deaths. It also said Liberia reported 329 cases, with 156 deaths, during that period; Sierra Leone, 533 cases, with 233 deaths.

Naite said the number of new cases and deaths in Guinea have been declining, although he did not give any figures.

“The most important thing that one should remember now is that once we harmonize the efforts and once we are together to fight the disease, then the epidemic will be best controlled because the center that deals with Ebola in Guinea will be in closed contact with the centers in the other two countries,” he said.

US-Africa Summit

Naite said unlike Sirleaf and Koroma, who have both canceled their trips to Washington for next week’s US-Africa Summit, the Guinean cabinet has given Conde unanimous permission to attend the Washington summit.

“We had an extraordinary cabinet meeting yesterday and unanimously we urged the president to participate in this summit because they are going to be talking about the future of Africa," Naite said.

"It’s not every day that African presidents and other world leaders will meet to discuss how to best strategize and how to best deal with the next generation that will be leading Africa,” he added.

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