Sierra Leone announces Ebola Recovery Program

Sierra Leone is drawing up a new Social Services Delivery plan said President Koroma in Brussels Tuesday. The plan emphasizes improved health, education, social protection, and service delivery.

His comments come after the International Monetary Fund (IMF) announced Monday to immediately send $80m to Sierra Leone to help halt the Ebola outbreak and assist in its economic recovery.

The IMF funds are being sent to help the Sierra Leone government cover its budget and boost its foreign reserves.

"The Sierra Leonean economy is battling two severe exogenous shocks with dramatic social and economic repercussions," said IMF deputy managing director Min Zhu.

"The Ebola epidemic and the sharp decline in iron ore prices are weighing heavily on the economy and have the potential for significant output contraction, continued price pressures, and increased fiscal and balance of payments deficits in 2015."

World leaders met in Brussels Tuesday to discuss the international response to the outbreak and plans to rebuild the economies of the countries that have been worst hit. According to the BBC, about 600 delegates were in Brussels to discuss the response to the outbreak.

Speaking in Brussels Tuesday, President Koroma said: "Ebola has ravaged our health and education sectors and pushed our economy into recession. Government revenues are drying up even as expenditure to combat the disease and its effects are rising.in Sierra Leone. 

"Over 8,300 people have been infected by the virus, and over 3,100 lives lost. 1,760, 000 have not gone to school for the last six months, and 280,000 persons have been made food insecure," the president said.

"If we are to ensure a resilient recovery from Ebola, we have to respond to the many ways this disease has made the country vulnerable… we need to deliver social services more effectively than we have before, and we must do so urgently," President Koroma said.

Solidarity march in Brussels Tuesday, March 3
He also cautioned that there would not be "total victory" over Ebola until we get to a resilient zero in the three worst affected countries.

"We are too close to each other; our region is about five hours away from the EU," the presiddent said.

"Our generation must be ever prepared for these outbreaks. It is in line with this that we call on your support for the coordinating structures put forward in our common Mano River Union Position Paper and all other measures therein."

Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea have adopted a vigorous approach aimed at getting rid of the viral infection within the next 60 days, noted Front Page Africa


The three leaders Alpha Conde of Guinea, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf of Liberia, and Ernest Bai Koroma of Sierra Leone adopted common strategies to end the Ebola virus disease epidemic in the sub-region and also address post Ebola socio-economic development recovery needs.

According to a dispatch from the Mano River Union, the February 15 meeting was agreed following a one day working visit on February 10 to Liberia by President Conde to discuss regional efforts to combat the Ebola virus disease.

The United Nations said on Monday that attempts to contain the outbreak were entering a "second phase."

The BBC's Anne Soy, in Brussels, says that there is a danger of donor fatigue, even though the Ebola outbreak has received a lot of attention from the international community.

Improving the health systems in Sierra Leone, Guinea, and Liberia would have helped to prevent the epidemic and cost a third of the relief effort, says Save the Children in a new investigation of the epidemic that has claimed more than 9,500 lives.

It found that £2.8bn had been spent on aid, compared with the £1bn it would have cost to improve basic healthcare in Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea, cites The Guardian.


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