The cross border meetings of ministers of health of

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The cross-border meetings of Ministers of Health of the MRU (20 June 2014, in Conakry), the Ministers of Health of West Africa on the Ebola epidemic (2-3 July 2014, in Accra) and the Heads of State and Government (HoS&G) of the MRU (1 August 2014, in Conakry) mobilized political leadership and partnerships to fight the disease. These meetings underpinned the insufficient capacity of each country to stop Ebola and highlighted the urgent need for regional efforts. It also provided some political backing to cross-border treatment, testing and contact tracing, and joint response actions. At the meeting, it was collectively dediced that it was imperative to scale up resources to protect health workers and to ensure security of national and international Ebola workers. It was also acknowledged that the pandemic was not only a threat to national security, but also an impediment to sub-regional, regional and global security. Therefore, the international community was called on for support to capacity building for surveillance, contact tracing, case management and laboratory testing. Sharing of information, expertise and resources among Member States was also emphasized. 16 The MRU stakeholders’ meeting of 4 February 2015, focusing on cross-border vigilance, and attended by traditional rulers, communicators, women and youth from the border communities, provided an opportunity to share experiences and ideas on how to end the deadly disease and support recovery efforts. In addition to donating US$1.0 million to each of the three most affected countries through the multi-sectoral coordinated response, the ECOWAS Authority also established a Regional Solidarity Fund to fight Ebola, which, as of 6 November 2014, had US$9.2 million as contributions and pledges. 17 It also reaffirmed the commitment to the Abuja Declaration, which requires the allocation of 15 percent of the total budget to the health sector, and directed its Commission to initiate the creation of the Regional Centre for Disease Prevention and Control for West Africa. 18 The ECOWAS Commission, through the West African Health Organization (WAHO), trained and deployed around 114 volunteer medical personnel – 49 to Guinea, on 3 December 2014; 27 to Sierra Leone on 4 December 2014; and 39 to Liberia on 5 December 2014 in the first instance. ECOWAS provided US$400,000 to Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone to strengthen their epidemiological surveillance and response capacity. ECOWAS HoS&G enjoined Member States to provide military personnel and logistics to enhance response capacities, support the medical staff on the field and participate in the construction of additional treatment and isolation centres as well as ensure their security. 16 For more information on the Declaration of the Mano River Union HoS&G on the eradication of Ebola in the region and related issues, see 17 This contribution is made up of the following. In addition to the earlier contribution of US$3.5 million by Nigeria to the fund, the country also pledged an additional US$1 million and made 500 health volunteers available to fight the disease. Côte d’Ivoire and Senegal also contributed US$1 million each, while the West African Economic Monetary Union (UEMOA) contributed
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