[Check Against Delivery]
Commissioner for Health
“The EU is fully engaged in the fight against Ebola”
Global Health Security Agenda (GHSA)
Washington, 26 September 2014
This is a global crisis which concerns all of us. It is a tragic reminder that we must never let down our guard. We pay the price of complacency with human suffering and loss of life.
The EU has been engaged in efforts to contain the spread since its first appearance. From the start, we focused our efforts on isolating the disease and not the affected countries - this is the vein in which we will continue to assist, in particular the most affected areas, and to work with WHO and other UN, regional and NGO partners to help tackle the disease as swiftly and efficiently as possible.
In addition to the 11.9 million EURO in humanitarian response in August, the EU announced a 140 million EURO Ebola response package for both crisis and recovery phases. In addition to continuing humanitarian relief such as patient care, support for health workers, and contact tracing, the funds also aim at strengthening national healthcare systems. EU Member States are also providing significant bilateral assistance to the affected countries. And yesterday at the UN, Commission President Barroso beefed up the EU response with an additional 30 million EURO for humanitarian aid to support the continuing efforts.
And I would like to assure the affected West African countries that the EU will not step away once this outbreak is over. The EU is a long-term and strategic partner in development, and we will continue to be there and help, also in the medium- and longer-term. We call on others to do the same.
The Ebola outbreak has shown us, in the most graphic way, the importance of investing in robust health systems and having a trained and protected health workforce. Much of the EU’s investment in health in developing countries is targeted at system strengthening and we need to maintain pressure and galvanise more support in this area.
We need to continue sustained action on implementing the International Health Regulations and to increase capacity in preparedness. We are only as strong as the weakest link.
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