Defeating Ebola in Sierra Leone Conference: What happened

Defeating Ebola in Sierra Leone Conference: What happened

Ebola Conference
Standing together to End Ebola: delegates gather for the Defeating Ebola in Sierra Leone Conference at Lancaster House.

Last week, in recognition of the growing Ebola crisis in West Africa, global governments, NGO’s and individual donors collectively took another step forward to respond, pledging more than £190 million in monetary assistance as well as supplies and personnel – the vast majority additional to previous pledges in the fight against Ebola.

At the conference ‘Defeating Ebola in Sierra Leone’, held jointly by the UK and Sierra Leone, governments and high-profile activists met with Secretary of State for International Development Justine Greening and Deputy High Commissioner for Sierra Leone Tamba Mansa Ngegba, to discuss the best approach to tackle this deadly virus.

After a morning of speeches from the Department for International Development, the World Health Organisation, the United Nations and Sierra Leone’s Health Minister Dr. Abu Bakarr Fofanah, all attendees reaffirmed that a coordinated global response was the only way forward. Medical staff, supplies and transport, along with logistical and groundwork support were called for by African governments and international health bodies alike, which this additional round of funding will go towards.

Speaking at the conference Justine Greening said:

“The international community gathering in London has made it clear it will take decisive steps to help Sierra Leone tackle this Ebola outbreak.

Representatives from more than 20 governments, a dozen NGOs, the UN and a number of multinational companies have pledged emergency medical facilities, health workers to provide care and training to local staff, funding, equipment and logistics.”

Also in attendance at the conference was award winning actor and Ebola activist Idris Elba, who has been supporting the efforts to tackle Ebola alongside ONE, since the outbreak.

Actor and Ebola activist Idris Elba with Secretary of State for International Development Justine Greening.
Actor and Ebola activist Idris Elba with Secretary of State for International Development Justine Greening.

His father was born in Sierra Leone, one of the worst affected countries, and his parents married there too. Writing about the virus earlier this week Idris described the moment he realised he had to do something to stop the outbreak:

“A few weeks ago, as Ebola slipped down the world’s list of priorities, I woke up in the middle of the night knowing I had to do something, in whatever way I could, to help fight the spread of this virus. Unchecked, Ebola threatens to not only take more lives, but to destroy the fragile economic growth that West Africa, especially Sierra Leone, has experienced post-war.”

Acknowledging the far reaching effort being given to combat this devastating virus he went on to say:

“The most humbling moments for me this week were hearing about the bravery of the health care workers risking their own lives to fight the virus on the front lines. Imagine having to sit down to tell your family, your parents, your wife, your child that you’re going to fight Ebola. That’s bravery.”

Whilst at the conference, Idris Elba and Justine Greening met with NHS Nurse and Ebola survivor William Pooley, who announced that he is planning to go back out to Sierra Leone to deliver life-saving treatment in the country.

Idris Elba with Justine Greening and BHS Nurse and Ebola survivor William Pooley
Idris Elba with Justine Greening and NHS Nurse and Ebola survivor William Pooley.

These additional pledges are not only a great result for countries throughout Africa, but for ONE members across the globe – 130,000 of you took a stand and signed our petition asking world leaders to take action and today they have!

This shows that taking a united stand can have a real impact for those who are in need of assistance.  Diane Sheard, UK Director of ONE, said:

“The scale and devastation wrought by the Ebola outbreak in West Africa is truly shocking, and today’s conference shows the importance of a coordinated and sustained response from the global community.

The focus now must be on delivering the necessary resources – from specialist personnel to protective clothing – as swiftly as possible. This is a global health emergency that presents a massive danger. Every day we delay is a missed opportunity to turn the tide of this crisis.”

Help us keep up the pressure on leaders to act: sign our Ebola petition now.

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