|By State House Communications Unit
President Ernest Bai Koroma received the Ambassador Designate of the United States of America Mr. John F. Hoover and Ambassador Extraordinary and plenipotentiary of the Republic of Ireland Dr. Sinead Walsh.
President Koroma said the founding of the country’s capital was in essence the outcome of the American war of independence. He described Ebola as a threat to life, freedoms and other ideals dear to humankind as it is difficult for a nation ravaged by the evil virus to sustain its growth, adding that it poses severe difficulties in strengthening the scaffolds for the construction of a better society.
The president pointed out that the world’s acknowledgement of these great difficulties is ensuring the support necessary to defeat the spreading virus. According to him, Sierra Leoneans have been in the battlefront to halt the spread of the raging virus as over three quarters of front line workers are Sierra Leoneans. “We are not leaving this fight to our foreign friends; but we also want our friends to speed up on the delivery of the artillery for shooting down the virus,” he stressed.
President Koroma called on every Sierra Leonean to refrain from every practice that aids the transmission of the disease adding that the US is an exceptional force for good in the world and will be of greater strength in defeating the disease as the number of treatment centers is increasing.
Ambassador Hoover described Sierra Leone and the United States as natural partners and said both countries share so many of the same goals and values in their respect for democracy and fundamental human rights, diversity and strive for peace and security both at home and beyond borders. He said the U.S share an ambitious desire to economic development by tapping into the power of the private sector and bringing sustainable development to all of its citizens.
The US Ambassador commended the bold and decisive leadership of President Koroma in this unprecedented crisis to speed the responses and make it more effective while pledging U.S. support to turn the tide against Ebola in the next days and weeks. He went on to state that as the country focuses its energy to halting Ebola, the US will also not lose sight of the importance of medium and long term programmes and activities necessary to mitigating the effects of the outbreak.
“We will support your efforts to strengthen democracy and socio-economic development. To our sister programmes we will continue to promote effective accountable governance, agriculture and food security, responsible mining and education and continue to work with the government to find a way forward for Sierra Leone to achieve a Millennium Challenge Corporation Compact in the future ( 2015 and 2016), he explained.
He furthered that since March the U.S. has been providing support to the Ebola response efforts, including laboratory diagnostics, equipment and supplies and other expertise to the National Ebola Response Centre (NERC). Currently around 70 U.S. experts from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and USAID are working in seven districts to support the country’s epidemiology, prevention and control, infection control and surveillance, lab testing, communication, case management, emergency management among others. In addition the U.S. has funded the treatment centre in Kenema district, the international Medical Corps in Lunsar, burial teams and UNICEF’s social mobilization activities.
Ambassador Walsh on her part assured that Ireland will continue to strengthen its long standing cooperation and commended President Koroma’s Leadership firstly in the implementation of the Agenda for Change and the ongoing Agenda for Prosperity. She registered her commitment to reducing hunger and welcomed His Excellency’s commitment to accelerating the eradication of hunger and malnutrition with focus on women and children.