President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has told the U.S. Congress that Liberia remains on the path toward zero Ebola cases by April 15 as agreed at a recent sub-regional summit of the three worst affected countries.
The President said she was confident that Liberia will achieve the mark given real progress on the Ebola frontlines.
“Today, 13 out of 15 of our counties have reported no new cases in over 21 days and we are down to 1 to 3 infections per week and chasing the very last chain of transmission,” She told an event hosted by Congressman Chris Coons and the U.S. Institute of Peace on Capitol Hill in Washington on Thursday.
She said “We remain confident of getting to zero because we now have 19 Ebola treatment units, 74 burial teams with the ability to safely remove bodies in less than 24 hours, and over 4,000 contact tracers, which increasingly involve community workers.”
She said doctors and nurses were committed to the fight against Ebola because they had the necessary supplies and materials to combat the killer disease that has killed more than 3,400, including a significant number of healthcare workers.
“Doctors, nurses and other healthcare workers, some 179 of whom died, are no longer at risk because quality treatment facilities are available to them,” she said.
“And while Ebola has rendered more than 3,000 children orphaned due to the deaths of 3,608 people, 1,401 people, including 254 children, have survived the disease.”
But the Liberian leader said there was much also that was being done about community mobilization and continued awareness on strict adherence to measures against the spread of the disease such as hand washing and routine temperature check.
“Notwithstanding, we have continued to warn our citizens against complacency. We can neither rest nor lift our foot off the gas. We are determined to “Get to Zero” cases byApril 15 in keeping with agreements reached recently at our Mano River Union Summit,” she said.
“We are all keenly aware that travelling that last mile to zero new cases will be much more difficult because the disease has retreated and must now be chased down in every corner. But, counting on your continued support, we will get to zero, and remain at zero.
Ladies and gentlemen, even as we celebrate our success, the truth also is that the cost has been extremely high – too high for many grieving families and our recovering nation to bear.