The Heads of State and Government of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) will meet in Accra on 16 January 2015 for a two-day High-level Coordination Meeting of ECOWAS partners on the fight against Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) in West Africa.

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The meeting which falls within the framework of implementation of the decisions of the ECOWAS Extra-ordinary Summit of 6 November 2014 at Accra on EVD is to explore ways and means for enhanced synergy on the response through concrete actions

On the invitation of the ECOWAS Commission, the European Commission is sending a high level official, the Director of Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection Operations of the European Commission, Mr. Jean-Louis De Brouwer to deliver a message on the EU’s response to the fight against the EVD.

On the occasion of the High-level meeting, Christos Stylianides, EU Ebola Coordinator and Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management, stated that ?The threat of Ebola is still real. The battle will only be over when we are down to zero cases in West Africa. For now, regional cooperation is an absolute must to defeat the outbreak once and for all. The EU is committed to help ensure a transition between emergency aid and development cooperation as the effects of Ebola in the region will be felt for months if not years to come?.

The European Commission has reacted to the epidemic in West Africa from the outset. EU funding is helping to contain, control and ultimately defeat the largest Ebola epidemic on record. It has been active with humanitarian aid, expertise and international coordination since the outbreak. As early as March 2014, the European Commission humanitarian assistance to help contain the epidemic and ensure immediate healthcare to the affected populations. The EU has since provided over EUR 1.2 Billion in financial aid as well as experts on the ground, emergency supplies and evacuation means.

In addition, diplomatic outreach is being done via the Delegations of the European Union and other channels in order to facilitate the humanitarian response in the countries concerned and to sensitize governments not to overreact to the crisis with regard to travel restrictions, trade impediments. The Commission also welcomes the latest contribution of Member States and reiterate the call to mobilise more resources, especially health workers.

Moreover, to reinforce EU efforts to help fight Ebola in rural communities of Guinea, under the leadership of the Commission, the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control is about to deploy four teams of epidemiologists to support surveillance and response at community level.

The Commissioner announced in his December report to EU Heads of State and Government that the EU will hold an international high-level conference on Ebola in March 2015.

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