Special Representative to the UN Secretary General and head of the United Nations Mission for Ebola Emergency Response (UNMEER), Mr Anthony Banbury, has assured the government and the people of Ghana not to harbour any fear over the siting of its headquarters in the country since it will not pose any risk or danger”.
“ I am very confident that UNMEER will not pose any risk or danger to Ghana. On the contrary, if UNMEER were not here then there would be greater risk to the people of Ghana or other countries around the world”, he said in an interaction with the press on Tuesday.
Commending Ghana for providing the platform for the UN to reach the Ebola –stricken countries, Mr Banbury expressed satisfaction over Ghana’s preparedness to prevent the disease from reaching its territories, saying “I went through controls at airport yesterday. It was very impressive and I was glad to see the vigilance. UNMEER will have an even higher standard. When our staff travel to Ghana or any other country, we will have in place these high standards, working with the Minister of Health and taking any advice he has on the standards to advise.
“We will have a small, light headquarters here to support the main operations in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. That is where our main activities will be. There will not be actual operations here, just the headquarters.”
The Special Representative to the UN Secretary General observed that normally when a mission is in a country it usually means problems are happening in the country. It is the opposite here. The fact that this Mission is here shows the strength of Ghana, the hospital is well functioning, the economy is good, the society is strong.
He reiterated the position of President John Dramani Mahama at the 69th United Nations General Assembly that the Ebola outbreak which has sickened more than 6,500 people and killed over 3,000 is not a West African problem but a global one.
“No single state can stop this outbreak. We need an international effort. The UN Secretary General paid tribute to Ghana for being the standard for the rest of the world and the standard for what all world leaders need to do to stop the outbreak”, the UNMEER head said.
He noted that the President’s agreement to host the headquarters of the mission provides a capability for the UN to transport supplies for the response..
“Our mission will work on establishing operational capacities in the countries concerned. Providing vehicles for transportation, supplies for the health workers, and other needs identified by the national governments”, he said.
Mr. Anthony Banbury earlier met with the chief of Staff Mr. Prosper Bani and members of the inter-ministerial task force on Ebola to introduce himself and his team formally to government at the Flagstaff House in Accra.