Ebola not just an African problem, says Jacob Zuma

2014-08-06 08:48

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President Jacob Zuma has urged delegates at the United States-Africa Leaders summit to consider Ebola not just as an African disease.

Speaking on a panel during the US-African business forum in Washington DC yesterday, Zuma said: “Let us [see] Ebola as a disease affecting humanity, rather than looking at it as an African problem.”

He also urged Africans to work together to address the Ebola outbreak.

This comes after CBS TV host Charlie Rose, who moderated the panel, asked leaders what should be done about Ebola.

Leaders from Sierra Leone and Liberia cancelled their attendance to the summit because of the virus.

Tanzania President Jakaya Kikwete pointed out to Rose that Ebola was a disease affecting the west of Africa, and Tanzania was in the east.

Speaking at the National Press Club on Monday, Zuma was also asked about Ebola. He said that the disease wasn’t in South Africa and, when he was asked how much he thought was needed to fight the disease on the continent, he referred the question to experts.

Zuma yesterday shared a platform with five other African leaders, including Rwanda President Paul Kagame. South Africa suspended diplomatic relations with Rwanda after opponents of the country’s government were murdered in South Africa.

Zuma also said African leaders appreciated being given the opportunity by the US to come and tell their stories.

“We are in the position [now] to tell our own story, instead of people telling it on our behalf,” he said.

South African Airways yesterday said it would not be cancelling flights to West Africa, as the region continued to battle the outbreak of Ebola, Sapa reported.

The World Health Organisation announced that the death toll there had increased from 729 to 887.

Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi said that South Africa remained on high alert and precautions were being taken to prevent the virus from entering the country.

Motsoaledi is set to lead a Southern African Development Community summit on Ebola today “to deliberate on the state of readiness and develop a common approach to the Ebola outbreak in West Africa”, the government said.

The summit is set to bring together ministers of health in the region and will be attended and addressed by the National Institute for Communicable Diseases and the World Health Organisation.

» City Press’ trip to the United States was partially funded by the US Embassy.

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