“I’m the first European minister to set foot” in the region since the start of the epidemic, Girardin told FRANCE 24’s sister station RFI in an interview ahead of the trip. “France can be proud,” she exclaimed.
Girardin’s visit follows a call from the World Health Organization (WHO), urging the international community to respond more quickly to stop the epidemic from spiraling out of control.
“I’m going to Guinea first to say that France is with them. And that’s not an insignificant message,” she told a news conference in Senegal’s capital, Dakar, on Friday.
“It’s also an important message to say that there are behaviours to adopt, that there are health systems that are resilient and that can take on this Ebola virus,” Girardin said.
“This is the case here in Senegal, it is the case in Ivory Coast and, unfortunately, not the case in Guinea, where health systems have proved less resilient to this virus, this epidemic,” she said, adding that Guinea desperately needs an overhaul of its health infrastructure, but noted “for that we need resources”.