In an effort to enhance global awareness and increase the levels of support from the international community, United States Ambassador to the United Nations, Samantha Power spent Tuesday, October 28th in Liberia as part of a larger tour of Ebola affected countries in the region.
“President Obama asked me to come to the region as a member of the cabinet and as the Ambassador to the United Nations, in order to show solidarity with the people of the region so that you know that you are not alone as you face this terrible epidemic,” Ambassador Power said in a statement on Tuesday.
While on the ground in Liberia, Ambassador Power visited a field hospital under construction to be used in the treatment of any health care workers who become ill as a result of treating Ebola patients. She was also given the opportunity to assess the progress being made in the effort to battle the spread of the disease including an inspection of the Navy’s Mobile’s Testing Lab in Bong County in central Liberia. The lab is one of three that have been installed in the country enabling health care workers to test patient samples more in a safer environment and with greater efficiency.
After her visit to the Mobile Testing Lab Ambassador Power observed that, “with the deployment of one mobile lab it is possible to get results, not in five days but in less than five hours and that allows people who do not have Ebola to move out of Ebola treatment units and others who may be at risk to move in. This is just one example of how the identification of requirements and the scale up by the Liberian government and the support by the United States and the American people and by the broader international community is going to be indispensable.”
Ambassador Power also had the opportunity to meet with Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and other senior members of the Liberian government regarding bilateral and international cooperation to combat the disease. Following their meetings, both President Sirleaf and Ambassador Power offered remarks at a joint press availability.
President Sirleaf began the press availability by welcoming the Ambassador and thanking her saying that she has “been in the forefront, from the Security Council, ensuring that the cooperation that comes from the United Nations, from the United States, from other partners, and our own efforts joining that can make a difference.”
Ambassador Power stated that she brought a message to the Liberian people on behalf of President Obama and the American people. That message is: “we will beat this.”
She also expressed her understanding that “Ebola is taking a toll on Liberia’s economy, on employment, on the health sector, the non-Ebola parts of the health sector, on education with the schools closed because of the severity of the epidemic.” She emphasized the commitment of the of the United States to working with Liberia “through the long haul in getting each of those sectors back on track and fighting the fear and the stigma that exists around Ebola.”
Ambassador Power had the opportunity to meet with U.S. personnel on the ground from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, USAID, the Department of Defense, and representatives from the UN Mission for Ebola Emergency Response (UNMEER) and the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) to discuss international efforts to combat Ebola.
While addressing U.S. embassy staff in Monrovia, Ambassador Power closed her remarks with an affirmation of solidarity saying, “we will beat this epidemic together.”