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Ebola epidemic

Published on November 17, 2014
Speech by Mme Annick Girardin, Minister of State for Development and Francophony, at the inauguration of the treatment centre (excerpts)

Macenta, Guinea, November 14, 2014


Since the beginning of this crisis, France has stood alongside Guinea and Guineans in this ordeal.

Coming two months after my first visit to Guinea, this trip to Macenta is all about action, with the opening of this Ebola treatment centre. On 18 September, President François Hollande annonced that France would establish a new Ebola treatment centre in Guinea’s forest region, in response to the appeal by President Alpha Condé.

That’s been done. France is thus honouring its commitment in Macenta.
Of course it’s not doing so alone, and nothing would have been possible without the commitment of Médecins Sans Frontières and the French Red Cross.

Your action is outstanding. Your Guinean and expatriate staff command respect. And it’s your ability to work hand in hand, respecting everyone’s role and traditions, that makes our presence here today possible. Our ambassador, who visited Macenta three weeks ago, made that very encouraging observation. (…)

I also want to thank the Guinean government, which has become very heavily involved at all levels to make it possible to open this treatment centre, an important element of the national plan to respond to Ebola.

I’d like to thank the World Food Programme, whose support was decisive when it came to building this centre. In addition to this achievement, that UN agency must be congratulated on the quality of its commitment and the spirit in which it’s managing to work in partnership with the countries involved in bilateral actions.
France, for its part, has played its full role.

It’s raised the essential funds: first of all, €5 million out of the Debt Reduction-Development Contract budget, in agreement with the Guinean authorities; President Hollande has decided to add an extra €6 million to this.

We’ve dispatched teams of experts, as well as doctors from EPRUS [Health Emergency Preparedness and Response Agency], and we’ve called on the skills of our embassy in Conakry. The French Development Agency has been playing a very active role.

All in all, the opening of this centre exemplifies a new way of moving forward in which the countries of the North shoulder their responsibilities, but in a different way, making all the links in the chain of international solidarity work together. (…)

As President François Hollande announced, we’re going to do more, and we’ve made a start on this.

French sécurité civile (1) teams are ready to get down to work on fitting out the two new treatment centres in Kérouané and Beyla; they will also help consolidate the centre in Forécariah, in the Basse Côte region;

France’s sécurité civile team is also going to renovate Manéah’s NCO school, in the suburbs of Conakry, which will accommodate the training centre for Guinean medical and non-medical staff involved in the fight [against Ebola];

In France, we’ve decided to open an Ebola patient care training centre for international staff before they go to the region;

We’ve increased the capacity of the team of advisers under the responsibility of Dr Sakoba Keita since the arrival of the Chief Medical Officer [of the armed forces], Professor René Migliani, whose presence here I welcome;

The armed forces’ medical branch arrived in Conakry last week to build a treatment centre for medical staff;

The Institut Pasteur is expanding its activities – which will ultimately be long-term in Guinea – by creating a Pasteur expertise centre in Conakry.

No other country is committed to Guinea like France, through financing, advice and the active efforts of women and men, both on the ground and at the heart of the decision-making process.

The time hasn’t come to relax our combined efforts, and we’re counting on you, just as you can count on us.

For France is committed to going all the way in the battle against Ebola, along with all of you, who are committed to this battle.

Long live Guinea, long live France, and long live Franco-Guinean solidarity and friendship!./.

(1) emergency services including rescue, firefighting and medical services.

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