Sunday, September 28, 2014

Resources Are Required to Tackle Ebola, But Also to Ensure the Development of Africa
Cuban Minister of Foreign Affairs Bruno Rodriguez Parrilla.
Speech by Bruno Rodríguez Parrilla, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Cuba, at the high-level meeting on the outbreak of Ebola, as part of the 69th Session of the UN General Assembly, September 25, 2014, "Year 56 of the Revolution"


Firstly, I wish to congratulate the Secretary-General of the United Nations for taking the initiative to call this meeting, which forms part of the essential efforts to join forces and develop joint actions of cooperation in the fight against the Ebola epidemic ravaging Western Africa and in order to stop its spread.

Cuba, who from the very beginning and in response to the calls of the Secretary-General and Dr. Margaret Chan, has been present in this battle, believes that the coordination by the United Nations and the guidance of the World Health Organization are key to guaranteeing a collective, coordinated and effective intervention.

In this context, we commend the establishment of the United Nations Mission for Ebola Emergency Response and the designation of a senior coordinator of the United Nations for the Ebola virus disease.

The General Assembly’s unanimous approval of Resolution A/RES/69/1 on September 19, is a clear demonstration of a universal awareness of the need to provide an immediate response to this disaster using all necessary resources, in order to prevent it from becoming a humanitarian crisis with unpredictable consequences for a continent which has been historically ignored and in which presents serious social problems and underdevelopment which have allowed for the emergence and spread of the disease.

Human, material and financial resources are required to tackle Ebola, but also to ensure the development of Africa.

The attitude of Cuba faced with this new crisis forms part of our spirit of solidarity with Africa, which has been a priority for over five decades. Over the past 55 years more than 76,000 Cubans have worked in 39 countries of the continent and over 4,000 health workers are currently providing services in 32 African countries. Cuba has trained 3,392 doctors free of charge, from 45 African countries.

It is within this same spirit that Cuba, as has already been announced, has decided to send brigades made up of healthcare workers specialized in confronting disasters and epidemics to the affected countries, and decided to increase collaboration efforts with those countries of the region which remain unaffected and in which Cuban health workers are present, in order to aid prevention of the disease.

Finally, I reiterate our conviction that given a collective response, including contributions from all countries, especially those with greater resources, we will be successful in confronting this serious challenge.

Thank you very much. (Applause)

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