The White House said Friday that Johnson Sirleaf — a rare female African leader who came to power in 2006 amid a wave of optimism — will meet US President Barack Obama at the White House to discuss Ebola response and the grueling task of economic recovery.
“President Sirleaf’s visit comes at a time of critical cooperation between the United States and Liberia,” Obama’s office said in a statement.
Of the West African nations afflicted by the deadly pathogen, Liberia, where 3,900 people died, is seen as the most advanced in curbing Ebola’s spread.
Earlier this month, schools in Liberia restarted lessons as Sirleaf vowed to eradicate the virus by mid-April.
Obama recently backed that goal and heralded a new phase in the fight against Ebola, one focused on extinguishing rather than containing the disease which has killed over 9,000 people.
Some 2,800 US troops deployed to the virus “hot zone,” predominantly in Liberia, are now being brought home.
“The United States is moving to the next phase of its Ebola response, which will be characterized by an intensive effort to reach zero Ebola cases in West Africa,” said the White House.