US health secretary visits Liberia, where Ebola killed 4,800
MONROVIA, Liberia (AP) — U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price on Thursday made his first trip overseas to Liberia, the West African country where Ebola killed more than 4,800 people.
Price praised Liberia for its “remarkable cooperation” on health care issues. The U.S. sent troops into the country to intervene to help stop the outbreak, which killed more than 11,300 people, mostly in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea.
The World Health Organization declared an end to the world’s deadliest outbreak of the virus in June. Now a new outbreak, the first since the one in West Africa, has been blamed for three deaths in a remote area of Congo.
Price, who did not address the latest outbreak, toured the West Point community that was hit hard by the hemorrhagic fever in 2014. Dr. Mosoka Fallah, a Liberian health ministry official, told Price there had been resistance from people there to report for testing.
“People said the Ebola situation was one-way traffic ... people go to the (Ebola Treatment Units) but don’t come back alive,” Fallah said.
Ebola survivor Mohammed Kromah told Price how he spent almost two months at a treatment center. He showed the U.S. official his Ebola-free certificate, which was greeted with wide applause.
Price also met with health workers at Redemption Hospital, where Liberia’s first Ebola death was recorded in 2014.
“I was so moved when we were at West Point, with Dr. Fallah sharing his story and the emotion of the same setting, where the remarkable challenge of Ebola, the Ebola crisis, played out right in their community,” he told The Associated Press.
He praised survivors, saying “we celebrate their victory over Ebola.”
Price promised to highlight the U.S.-Liberia partnership that helped defeat Ebola when he attends the upcoming G-20 health summit in Berlin.