President John Dramani Mahama has said that “events of recent times are merely setbacks that will motivate us to find more sustainable solutions”.
Addressing the United Nations General Assembly, President Mahama said these words rang particularly true when he looked at the three countries hardest hit by the Ebola outbreak – Guinea, Sierra Leone, and Liberia. He said these were countries coming out of years of civil war and were struggling to rebuild their social and economic infrastructures when Ebola struck.
He added that the slowness in stemming the spread of the deadly virus was because it struck at the heart of our humanity and culture.
President Mahama said: “What makes Ebola so dangerous is that the virus dares us to compromise the impulses that exist at the very core of our humanity: our impulse to comfort one another with love; to care for each other with the healing power of touch; and, to maintain the dignity of our loved ones even in death with a public funeral and properly marked grave.
“Ebola is a disease of isolation. It leaves family members afraid to embrace one another, healthcare workers afraid to attend to patients, and it forces the living to abandon the cultural rites of washing, embalming and burying their dead. Instead they are zipped into a secure body bag, carried on a stretcher by makeshift pallbearers in protective wear, then tossed into a freshly dug ditch.”
Quoting Dug Hammarskjold, who served as the second Secretary-General of the United Nations from 1953-1961, Mahama said: “The pursuit of peace and progress cannot end in a few years in either victory or defeat. The pursuit of peace and progress, with its trials and its errors, its successes and its setbacks, can never be relaxed and never abandoned.”
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