"The International Community Cannot Become Complacent” - Kandeh Kolleh Yumkella

On February 6, 2015 in Vienna, Austria the OPEC Fund for International Development (OFID) signed a US$400,000 grant agreement with Cuba to support Cuban medical brigades deployed for Ebola treatment/containment missions in Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea (www.ofid.org).  

As a special guest of the OFID Director-General, Mr Suleiman J Al-Herbish and HE Ileana Núñez Mordoche, Deputy Minister of Foreign Trade and Investment of Cuba, UN Under-Secretary-General and CEO of Sustainable Energy for All Initiative, Kandeh Yumkella noted that a review of the contributions would show that OPEC Fund was among the first organizations to begin to support the World Health Organization (WHO) in their efforts to contain the spread of Ebola.

Thanking the Director-General and his staff for their continued assistance and particularly to the Ebola infected nations, Yumkella stressed that “the OPEC Fund was quick to realize that WHO needed help even before Ebola was declared a global health emergency.” In August 2014, Yumkella played a critical role in OFID’s disbursement of an emergency assistance grant of USD 500,000 (Half A Million Dollars) to WHO http://www.ofid.org/NewsPress/tabid/87/ArticleId/1938/OFID-approves-emergency-grant-to-fight-Ebola-in-West-Africa.aspx “OFID and Cuba are sending a strong message to the world that Ebola is far from over. The international community cannot become complacent,” he further noted.

Speaking on behalf of the government of Cuba, Ms. Mordoche thanked OFID for its ongoing support to her country over the past 13 years and lauded the institution’s solidarity not just with Cuba, but “with its brothers in Africa.”  For his part, Director-General Al-Herbish assured Ms. Mordoche of OFID’s continued support to Cuba’s socioeconomic development.  “I have great admiration for Cuba’s physicians and their determination to remain in high-outbreak areas until the disease was contained, despite personal risk,”  he said.

It is great to see declining numbers of Ebola and hopefully we will see zero infection rates soon. However, the crisis exposed the inadequacy of our health care services.  Immense efforts are still needed to rebuild primary health care infrastructure and restore confidence.  KKY as always will continue to mobilize partners to transform lives and make a difference.  

When the World needs help, they call KKY.
When Sierra Leone faces crisis and is looking for actions that transform lives, communities, the environment and economy,  it's KKY to the rescue. If SLPP seeks a compelling visionary leader to win the Presidency (and not limited to Flagbearer), that's KKY.

By Donald Roberts