With the United States leading the way, the international community’s response to the Ebola fever epidemic gripping West Africa has slowed the disease’s spread in hard-hit Liberia.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control, working closely with Liberian health officials, found that infection rates are beginning to fall, particularly in urban areas. Serious challenges remain, however, and hot spots of Ebola transmission remain in several counties.
We have been helping fight the Ebola outbreak since soon after the first cases were reported in March. In early November, as part of our whole-of-government response to the crisis, we opened a special medical unit near the capital, Monrovia, to provide care to any healthcare workers who become infected while treating patients. Built by the U.S. Defense Department and manned by U.S. Public Health Service staff, the Monrovia Medical Unit is a 25-bed field hospital, and has admitted 16 patients thus far.
To build on this effort, a U.S. delegation traveled to Liberia on December 2 to review the progress of Ebola response efforts in the country and to learn what more needs to be done. Led by Assistant Secretary of State Linda Thomas-Greenfield, a former U.S. Ambassador to Liberia, the group met with the U. S. and UN Missions as well as international medical staff who are serving the people of Liberia during this global health crisis. The delegation also met with Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf to underscore our nation’s continued commitment to Liberia and to explore avenues that will accelerate its economic, political and social recovery after the Ebola crisis.
The United States has deep historic ties to Liberia and has long worked with its government to move it out of its post-conflict status toward sustainable development. Since the end of the conflict in 2003, we have invested more than $2 billion toward rebuilding Liberia and improving the lives of its people. The Ebola outbreak is a severe blow to Liberia’s progress, one that we are determined to help it overcome.