The Foreign Service Journal - January/February 2018
THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL | JANUARY-FEBRUARY 2018 31 FOCUS ON U.S. GLOBAL LEADERSHIP The U.S. role in helping Ghana stave off a deadly epidemic showcases American diplomats’ perseverance, political astuteness and creativity, as well as interagency teamwork, in fulfilling a vital mission. BY J I M BEVER Jim Bever, a Foreign Service officer with USAID for 35 years, recently retired with the personal rank of Career Minister. Prior to his last posting, as acting assistant administrator for legislative and public affairs, he served as mission director in Ghana, Egypt, the West Bank/Gaza Strip and Afghanistan, as well as in senior deputy assistant administrator positions for Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan and the Middle East. He is a recipient of the President’s Distinguished Service Award and the USAID Administrator’s Distinguished Career Service Award. He is a member of the FSJ Editorial Board. B y early October 2014, Ebola had already devastated Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone. Like a wildfire, it leapt across national boundaries, spreading via infected people traveling into Senegal, Mali,The Gambia andNigeria.The deadly disease, first identified near the Ebola River in 1976, inwhat is now the Democratic Republic of the Congo, almost made it intoGhana, where I was posted as USAIDmission director. A couple of months earlier, in July, an infected Liberian- American citizen had spent time in the Accra Airport transit lounge before flying on toNigeria, where he spread the disease before dying. Working with Ghana to Prevent the Spread of Ebola USAID/GHANA’SSYSTEMSFORHEALTHPROJECT Ghanaian health workers train to suit up completely in case of an Ebola outbreak.