Africa Liberia decries stigmatization over Ebola

Liberia decries stigmatization over Ebola

President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf
President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf

 (AA) – Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf decried on Tuesday restrictions on her citizens in the U.S. and other countries over Ebola, insisting this was not the best way to beat the deadly virus.

“We just like the international community to continue to see this as a global threat,” Sirleaf said after a meeting with Ambassador Samantha Power, the U.S. permanent representative to the U.N.

“Stigmatization, exclusion and restrictions are not the appropriate response to this,” she insisted.

The senior American diplomat arrived in Monrovia earlier Tuesday as part of a multi-leg tour of West Africa that has also taken her to Sierra Leone and Guinea to assess the impact of the Ebola virus and how to accelerate response  to help contain its outbreak.

In recent months, Ebola – a contagious disease for which there is no known treatment or cure – has killed 4,922 worldwide, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

A total of 4,912 deaths have been reported in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia alone.

President Sirleaf hoped Ambassador Power would convey to the international community the progress being made by Liberia and other affected countries in fighting Ebola.

“We hope they can reconsider and understand that Liberia is fighting an unknown enemy and join us in battle to enable us fight this war,” she added.

Ambassador Power, for her part, said the international community’s support to the Ebola response in the three countries needs to be improved.

“We are committed to working with Liberia,” she asserted.

“We will support new effort to end the stigma and also to ensure that Liberians all around the world are treated with respect and dignity,” the American envoy assured President Sirleaf.

The first Ebola case recorded in Nigeria was from a Liberian, Patrick Sawyer, who was infected with the virus and died in Nigeria.

Similarly, the first Ebola case recorded on U.S. soil with of another Liberian, Thomas Eric Duncan, who also later died in the U.S.

Since then the U.S. and other countries have instituted very stringent screening measure against people coming from Liberia and other West African countries.