Director General Addresses Special European Union Meeting on Ebola

Posted: 
03/03/15

Belgium - IOM is seeking a solid international commitment to West Africa to completely eliminate Ebola and ensure a positive legacy from the international response to the health crisis.

Addressing a special meeting of the European Union on Ebola Response and Recovery in Brussels today (3/3), IOM’s Director General William Lacy Swing will say that the Ebola (2014) outbreak in West Africa has highlighted once again that mobile populations and disease risk of international concern are intimately related issues. 

The outbreak began in Guinea in December 2013, and spread quickly in the region before being reported in March 2014.  In August 2014, WHO Director General Dr. Margaret Chan declared Ebola (2014) a public health emergency of international concern. This was quickly followed by the call from UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon for a Global Ebola Response.

IOM joined the international response to save lives affected by Ebola, to protect families and health care workers against the disease, limit virus transmission, and to build capacity in health services and public health systems in the fight to contain and control the outbreak.

It did so by managing Ebola Treatment Units, engaging in social mobilization and delivering emergency care kits for vulnerable families and communities.

IOM was also responsible for training health care providers in safe and compassionate care of patients and measures to prevent disease transmission. It also supported Ebola-affected and “ring” country governments in improving health care and public health services. 

IOM’s expertise in cross border management of health and security is being applied throughout the region at air, land, and soon sea, access points. 

Acknowledging the leadership of President Sirleaf of Liberia, President Ernest Bai Koroma of Sierra Leone, President Alpha Condé of Guinea Conakry, and the leaders of the ring countries at risk from Ebola, Ambassador Swing will note that “while challenges have been enormous, until we all get to zero cases, the fight has not been won.”

“IOM will stay the course in all of its activities to get to zero cases, maintain zero cases, and build back better,” he says.

Swing will also pay special tribute to the people of the Ebola-affected nations – those who were infected, those who lost their lives, those whose families were affected, those whose livelihoods were disrupted or destroyed, and those whose sense of security was shaken. 

“Their suffering must not be forgotten. They have a right to return to normal lives. We should not be complacent in completing this effort to address the challenge,” he says.

For more information, please contact

Leonard Doyle

IOM HQ

Tel: +41 79 285 71 23

Email: ldoyle@iom.int.