Joint Statement - Working together to stop Ebola

Published: 30 January 2015

Geneva, 30 January 2015. On the occasion of an Ebola Partners Forum hosted in Geneva by the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), key parties to the Ebola response met to share experiences and lessons learned, to review the critical steps that we must take to get to zero cases, and to plan the way forward to build resilient communities and nations.  

Together, we want to pay tribute to the thousands of volunteers, humanitarian and emergency personnel, and health care workers who have been at the forefront of the response to Ebola, risking their lives to save the lives of others. Their dedication and courage have been key as we work toward zero cases and recovery. They continue to inspire us.

Together, we state that the fight against Ebola is not over. Complacency is the new enemy that can lead to preventable deaths. To reach our goal of zero cases we must strengthen contact tracing and increase community engagement. We must ensure a more resilient health system. As stated by a participant in the Forum, “The epidemic began with a single case, and a single case can reignite the Ebola crisis.”

We recognize that the situation has improved in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea as a result of the combined effort of local governments, communities, including religious and cultural leaders, and partners. Still, we must remain vigilant.

To stop Ebola, we must be flexible and relentless in our response to localized outbreaks. Our response must be quick and with the highest standard of care.

Together, we affirm that stopping Ebola is not sufficient. Ebola has weakened health systems and economies, and increased the vulnerability of communities. This affects regional, national and local capacity to resist future outbreaks and shocks, and exposes the population to risks that are still to be mitigated. The current emergency response will only produce lasting improvement if we simultaneously tackle the root causes and driving factors of the outbreak. Getting to the last mile and staying there will require a shift in mind-set and a long-term commitment.

Today, we pledge to work together to sustain our combined effort to get to zero cases and to invest in long-term recovery and community resilience. To do so, we recognize the need to enhance and nurture partnerships.

Partnerships with governments and donors that ensure open dialogue, sufficient support and accountability are essential for long-term recovery and the rebuilding of health systems.

Partnerships with communities are essential to maintain their critical role in defining solutions and strategies. By sustaining and building trust, we will establish the enabling environment necessary to sustain response and long-term recovery.

Ebola has tested and will continue to test us all. We will learn from this experience and avoid the mistakes of the past. We must not wait for another outbreak to build resilient communities and health systems that can withstand future shocks. Now is the time.

Statement supported by:

  • Elhadj As Sy, Secretary General, International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies
  • Dr. David Nabarro, UN Special Envoy on Ebola
  • Dr. Bruce Aylward, Assistant Director General, World Health Organisation
  • Dr. Caroline  Jehu-Appiah, Principal Health Economist, Human Development Department, African Development Bank
  • Cees Wittebrood, Head of Unit, East, West and Southern Africa, Indian Ocean, European Commission, DG for Humanitarian Aid & Civil Protection (ECHO)