By. P. Oxford Brown
MONROVIA—The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), through its health body the West African Health Organization (WAHO), has deployed a 39 strong medical team to Liberia to help the country battle the deadly Ebola Virus.
The ECOWAS Medical Team is headed by Dr. Kabba Joiner, he arrived in Liberia on Sunday, December 7, on board a United Nations Aircraft at the Roberts International Airport.
The 39-member team consists of 10 medical doctors, 17 nurses and 12 specialists in different medical areas. Medical personnel from Ghana, Ivory Coast, Niger, Mali, Benin and Nigeria make up the ECOWAS contingent. The ECOWAS Medical team will work under the supervision of the African Union Support to Ebola Outbreak in West Africa (ASEOWA) under the leadership of Major General Dr.Julius F. Oketta.
Receiving the delegation at the RIA, Major General Oketta said the mission is a joint- AU-ECOWAS civil military response operation to the Ebola outbreak in the region. Dr. Oketta disclosed that the mission of the joint AU-ECOWAS initiative is to work on several pillars.
The contingent according to reports include medical and non-medical force, dealing with the Ebola Treatment Units and surveillance, humanitarian support to distressed communities, psychosocial support and social mobilization, communications and coordination and collaboration with partners in the fight against Ebola.
“All of us from the African soil have come here in support of government’s effort in eradicating Ebola, I normally use the word eradication because we don’t want to suspend Ebola, we must finish it robustly and therefore we are here to ensure by the time we stepped on the ground Ebola must be declared finished that is our spirit,” Major General Dr. Oketta said.
He urged the medical personnel to serve as not only ambassadors for their respective countries but also for ECOWAS by showing love, care and support for people in the communities where they will be assigned.
Also speaking, the head of the ECOWAS Medical team, Dr. Kabba Joiner said he was glad to be in Liberia and to make a contribution to rid the West African sub-region of the deadly Ebola virus.
Dr. Joiner said the team was carried through the entire basic preventive training and skilled through the steps in treating Ebola victims. “We are here to work directly with the AU Mission, the Ministry of Health and other partners to ensure we win this war. My team hopes to be deployed to wherever the authorities in Liberia decide and will work in all terrains”, he said.
Dr. Joiner said apart from Ebola the ECOWAS Medical team will focus on other critically needed health areas as requested by the Liberian Government adding that we want to help Liberia rebuild its human resources in the medical field that’s why we have brought all these trained professionals from across the region.The ECOWAS Medical Team was received on arrival by officials of the West African Health Organization, ECOWAS National Unit, the African Union Liaison Office, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Health.