Liberia names new health minister as it seeks to beat Ebola

by Reuters
Wednesday, 8 April 2015 14:23 GMT

A health worker injects a woman with an Ebola vaccine during a trial in Monrovia, February 2, 2015. REUTERS/James Giahyue

Image Caption and Rights Information
Liberia's new minister of health won plaudits for her role in tackling the Ebola outbreak as chief medical officer

MONROVIA, April 8 (Reuters) - Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has named new ministers for health and education as her government seeks to bring an end to the Ebola outbreak in the West African country and focus on reconstruction.

Sirleaf promoted Bernice Dahn to be the new minister of health after she won plaudits for her role in tackling the Ebola outbreak in Liberia as chief medical officer.

Dahn placed herself in quarantine in September for nearly a month after one of her assistants died of Ebola. She tested negative for the disease.

More than 10,450 people have succumbed to the disease across Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone, the three countries hardest hit by the worst Ebola epidemic on record.

Liberia's last known case of Ebola died on March 27 and the country is conducting the 42-day countdown to be officially declared free of the disease. That is twice the maximum incubation period for Ebola, as specified by the World Health Organization.

"President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf ... asks for all Liberians' continued trust and confidence to help as the government tackles the next challenges and embarks on the difficult road for post-Ebola economic recovery," said a government statement late on Tuesday that announced the changes.

Having weathered the outbreak more successfully than its two neighbours, Liberia's economy is expected to grow by 3 percent this year, according to the World Bank.

George Werner, the former head of the civil service agency, was appointed as minister of education. Liberia reopened its schools in February after a six-month hiatus designed to stem the spread of the outbreak.

The president also dissolved the board of the Liberia Airport Authority, saying it would shortly be reconstituted, as part of its efforts to modernise the country's airports. (Reporting by Alphonso Toweh; Writing by Daniel Flynn; Editing by David Lewis)

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.