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‘No one should be stigmatized because of Ebola’

- says Swedish Minister

February 20, 2015 By Ibrahim Tarawallie

Swedish Minister of International Development and Corporation yesterday opined that survivors of the deadly Ebola virus disease should not be stigmatized because they contracted the terrible disease.

Isabella Lovin, who recently assumed the position as Co-Chair of the International Dialogue on Peace-building and State-building, was in the country on a familiarization visit and to discuss issues of mutual priority in relation to the co-chairmanship with Sierra Leone’s Minister of Finance and Economic Development, Dr. Kaifala Marah, who has been co-chairing the dialogue since 2014.

During a chat with newsmen at the Radisson Blu Hotel in Freetown, Lovin noted that the issue of stigmatization was very critical and needed to be discussed by all and sundry.

“Stigmatization is a very important issue and we all need to talk about that situation. Stigma is affecting Sierra Leone and this is one of the reasons why I am here to show that we are all part of the Ebola scourge. No one should be stigmatized because of this terrible disease,” she said and added that children who have either survived or are orphaned by the disease need a future.

She assured that at the end of the Ebola outbreak their focus would be to help affected countries, including Sierra Leone, with material things like infrastructure and building stronger institutions.

She maintained that what needed to be in the recovery plan of affected countries is the building of stronger institutions as well as concentration on reconciliation processes, noting that if the focus is on economic development without having strong institutions, state fragility would still subsist.

“Sweden has been one of the major contributors economically in the Ebola crisis in Sierra Leone and we have also sent doctors and nurses here,” she added.

When asked about Sweden’s support to Sierra Leone’s post-recovery plan, Lovin stated that when the time is right her government will have close dialogue with their Sierra Leonean counterparts to see how they could build strong institutions to make room for possible foreign investment.

The Swedish Minister ended by registering her nation’s commitment to partner with Sierra Leone to ensure the West Africa country acquires good economic growth and development to get out of poverty.

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