New York, September 26, 2014
Two other crises dominated the agenda of this United Nations General Assembly. First, the Ebola epidemic, and France, as you know, is very much at the forefront of this issue. French researchers first discovered the virus. Very important work is being carried out in particular by the Institut Pasteur and by our research centres, under the auspices of the National Institute of Health and Medical Research (INSERM).
We are also very active on the ground: up to now we’ve planned to devote €70 million to this. We have dispatched a whole number of medical staff and tribute must be paid to them because they really are remarkably selfless people. And the decision has been taken, it’s being carried out, to set up in Guinea – since the WHO has divided up who does what and as far as France is concerned, we’ve been asked to take action in Guinea in particular –, we’re planning a hospital in Forest Guinea, which will be operated by the Red Cross.
The only thing is, what’s striking when you discuss these issues, when you talk to the specialists, is that unfortunately the epidemic risks spreading considerably before – let’s hope for this, and we’re working on it – an abatement. But the figures mentioned are very large and so the international community must be completely mobilized.
It’s the United Nations Secretary-General’s wish – and he’s absolutely right: Margaret Chan, Director-General of the WHO, is mobilized. We spoke about this at length yesterday as part of the G7 meeting we organized with my foreign minister colleagues. We all fear that there will be an extremely worrying increase [in the epidemic] for which there really needs to be very specific organization on a massive scale, and France will obviously cooperate on this. (…)./.