After a horrific year beset by a devastating disease, Liberia may be close to liberation from Ebola.
“Cases are now down 95 percent from the peak,” President Obama said February 27 when his Liberian counterpart visited the White House. Only one case of the disease was reported in Liberia during the latest week for which data are available, while 98 cases occurred elsewhere in West Africa, a significant slowing of an outbreak that has featured nearly 24,000 cases since March 2014..
Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf thanked the United States for its help and partnership in confronting the disease, the most severe and widespread Ebola outbreak to date.
U.S. military personnel deployed to the region made “a very permanent contribution” in scaling up Liberia’s ability to confront a health crisis, Sirleaf said. “They worked with our military, and as a result of that, today our military can go out and they can build those structures [such as] health treatment centers.”
Sirleaf also praised how Liberians confronted their national crisis. “They took responsibility, they took leadership, they took ownership.”
Sirleaf and Obama agreed the outbreak is not over until every case in the region is brought under control and transmission ends. Even so, as schools and businesses reopen in Liberia, Obama observed that, “The flow and rhythm of normal life” have been revived.
Obama expressed “confidence that we’re going to be able to stamp out this disease completely.”