Former Pres. Sirleaf Rallies Support for Global Health -Graves for Leadership, Financing, Innovation

She has not retired from work—yet. Before she even made the history of being Africa’s first democratically elected head of state, Liberia’s Ellen Johnson Sirleaf was an astute international civil servant, a global citizen, who has touched the lives of peoples in many countries serving a horde of multilateral and transnational organizations. The Nobel Peace Laureate is currently WHO’s Goodwill Ambassador who is taking the portfolio not as a mere decoration but a responsibility to grab with two hands. In an exhaustive interview with the revered Raconteur news outlet, the former Liberian leader shared insightful thoughts on what should be done by national, international and transnational organizations to save mankind from the scourge of diseases. The Analyst reports.

Former Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has been rallying nations and well-meaning people to increase their support to the health sector, particularly improving conditions of health workforce.

“I also wish to advocate for all healthcare workers, particularly those in rural areas and high population communities who are on the front lines of global health crises,” the Nobel Peace Laureate said in an interview with Raconteur recent.

She recalled that during the West Africa Ebola crisis, healthcare workers bore the greatest risk when caring for the sick, putting their lives on the line to help others.

“With an ongoing Ebola crisis in the DRC – which is also in a conflict zone – healthcare workers are again in the front lines of combatting the disease. I wish to bring immediate attention to them and to advocate for them so that they receive the training, compensation and security required.”

Responding to question regarding progress in the fight against infectious diseases, the UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador said: “I believe we must always remain optimistic when confronting these global challenges. Just because the number of new cases of these has not dropped in the last few years does not mean that global leaders, experts in health or scientists have slowed in the fight to eradicate these diseases.”

She added: “In fact, I am highly encouraged by recent innovations which have the potential to save millions of lives in the coming years. For example, new malaria vaccines have entered major testing phases in several African countries, notably Malawi and Kenya. If successful, these new drugs could reduce severe cases of malaria by over one third of cases and are a major step forward in eradicating malaria once and for all. As you know, I sit on the End Malaria Council, which is a committed group of global public sector and business leaders who see malaria eradication as a critical health and development priority.”

According to her, the Council is working to eradicate malaria for good, by focusing on three key areas: Leadership: Ensure that malaria eradication remains high on global and regional agendas with strong political commitment from leaders at all levels; Financing: Advocate at the global and country levels to ensure sufficient funding to protect our remarkable progress and end malaria for good. Technology: Support the introduction of new technologies that can accelerate the path to eradication.

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