FREETOWN (AA) – Ambassador Samantha Power, the U.S. permanent representative to the United Nations, insisted on Monday that there are still many gaps that have not been filled in the fight against the deadly Ebola epidemic in Sierra Leone.
“I have come to this country to express the support and solidarity of President Barack Obama and the American people,” Power told a press conference in Freetown.
She assured Sierra Leone of Washington’s continued support and partnership to contain the deadly virus.
“The U.S. will continue to encourage medical volunteers to work in Sierra Leone and will continue to provide necessary medical resources needed to contain the virus,” said the senior diplomat.
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 the West African states of Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia alone.
According to Sierra Leone’s Ministry of Health and Sanitation, a little over three thousand people have contracted the Ebola virus, with over one thousand deaths recorded since the outbreak.
The American envoy recognized that the situation of the Ebola epidemic in Sierra Leone is challenging, citing a wide gap between the number of beds that are needed to treat Ebola victims and the number available.
But she expressed hope things could get better if members of the international community honoured their commitment to providing necessary support in the fight against the deadly virus.
“It’s very important for countries that have made commitment to fast track their responses,” said Power.
She also encouraged every citizen to take responsibility and actively participate in the fight against the Ebola outbreak.
Power insisted that the virus could only be contained if every citizen is aware that Ebola “is not somebody else’s problem but everybody else problem.”
She commended the government of Sierra Leone for putting together a coordinated response for the fight against Ebola.
“There is more than hope in Sierra Leone; there is a plan and leadership,” said the senior diplomat. “The role of the international community is to ensure that these plans are properly resourced.”
Power was in neighboring Guinea on Saturday where she criticized the tepid international response to the Ebola outbreak so far.
She is expected to leave Sierra Leone for Liberia on Tuesday.
“The way that we will see no more cases in the U.S. is that we defeat Ebola at the source,” said the senior American diplomat. “We will defeat Ebola in Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia.”
A man who had traveled to Texas from Liberia was on September 30 confirmed as the first case of Ebola to be diagnosed in the U.S. He died on October 8.
Three other infections have since been confirmed, with only one case – a medical aid worker who had returned from Guinea – still in isolation in a New York City hospital.
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