The Vice President of the African Development Bank Sue Wardell Wednesday 18 March paid a follow up courtesy call on President Koroma at State House to assess the gains made so far in the fight against Ebola and pledged support towards efforts to reaching zero new infection.
She expressed the urgent need to work towards zero new infections and staying zero, adding that when Ebola struck, members of the international community were turning their backs, but the President of the AfDB Dr Donald Kabeiruka was very much concerned.
She expressed her sympathy for the loss of lives and also articulated the bank's commitment to continue to support Sierra Leone to get to zero and stay zero, and also support for the country's post Ebola recovery strides and what actually can be done beyond managing the crisis and starting the recovery programmes. AfDB’s vice president stated that the disease has changed the nature of work in future while noting that as the country gets to zero “there is need to be vigilant, to make sure if it comes back we detect it early.”
Madam Wardell continued that the Ebola outbreak has been a serious setback for development issues, particularly on the country’s human development, health and educational sectors. She expressed the need to get beyond rebuilding the affected sectors quickly, and acknowledged President Koroma’s leadership, saying that his efforts have made the difference in the fight against the waning virus.
President Koroma thanked the AfDB for their continuous support and encouragement. He highlighted efforts government has made to contain the virus and in attaining zero new infection by mid-April; a plan signed off by the Mano River Union (MRU). He said the country has improved its capacity to fight the disease and stated that government will continue to remain focus and provide the services that will ensure there is no reversal of the gains already made.
The president furthered that member states of the MRU are working on getting to zero and also working on a recovery plan. He explained that because of the need to adopt a common approach, it would require the AfDB to provide some leadership and coordination in unfolding the recovery strategy as the bank is better placed to understand it. He disclosed that the national plan would be ready shortly and will keep the bank informed formally and accordingly.
The AfDB vice president was accompanied by the bank’s country representative Dr Yero Baldeh and Sierra Leone’s Minister of Finance and Economic Development Dr Kaifala Marrah.