OCTOBER 28, 2014 By Alusine Sesay
Notwithstanding its immense contribution to contain the deadly Ebola outbreak in West Africa, the Chinese government has again promised to provide additional support to the tune of 500 million RMD (equivalent to 82 million United States dollars) to get rid of the disease in the three hard hit countries of Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea.
Yesterday at a news conference held at his embassy in Freetown, Chinese Ambassador Zhao Yanbo echoed the pronouncement of Chinese President, Xi Jinping, who promised to provide the said amount to the Ebola fight.
“According to the announcement, China will offer medical beds, ambulances, motorcycles, pick-up trucks, incinerators and PPEs to the three Ebola-stricken countries, and send public health experts to share Chinese experiences in epidemic control and help train local health workers,” echoed the Chinese diplomat.
China, according to Ambassador Yanbo, will further donate US$6 million to the UN Ebola Response Multi-Partner Trust Fund to support UNMEER in containing the virus, adding that “China will launch the China-Africa public health cooperation plan, which includes holding 12 seminars on public health and epidemic control for the three Ebola-hit countries, AU and ECOWAS, integrating resources such as China-aided hospitals, anti-malaria centers, testing labs and medical teams to initiate China-Africa united research on tropical diseases, and help African countries build public health information platforms and monitoring networks for epidemic control”.
He further promised that China will actively participate in international cooperation, strengthen communication and coordination with the UN and WHO, attend regular meetings held by the Core Group of the Global Ebola Response Coalition, and send high-level officials to join UNMEER.
“Under the prerequisite of the respecting will of the recipient countries, China will also conduct cooperation with the U.S., France and UK in terms of epidemic analysis, personnel training, testing and treatment and information sharing. This round of aid is unprecedented and has richer contents, which shifts focus from emergency humanitarian aid to prevention and control of infectious diseases and construction of public health system,” he said. “It aims at addressing both the symptoms and root causes, improving the response capabilities of the Ebola-stricken countries and establishing long-term public health systems for epidemic control.”
Since the outbreak of Ebola, he said the Chinese government lost no time in responding to the appeals of the Ebola-affected countries and WHO, and that they delivered three batches of emergency humanitarian aid to relevant countries through charted airplanes and other means.
“Besides China providing cash, food and materials to the Ebola-hit countries, it also established mobile labs and holding centers in Sierra Leone, dispatched three batches of experts and required the Chinese medical teams to stay in the battlefront,” he said.
The additional support by the Chinese government, Ambassador Yanbo noted, is valued at 250 RMB and that there are almost 200 Chinese medical experts working in the hard-hit Ebola countries.
“China helped Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea as well as 10 of their neighbouring countries and the African Union to build up epidemic prevention capabilities. China is always true in word and resolute in deed, and Chinese assistance was rapidly fulfilled,” he said. “China has played a leading role, and has been widely praised in the international community.”
He observed that as it continues to spread, the Ebola virus disease has become a threat not only to the lives of the people of West Africa but the entire world at large.
The new batch of assistance, he said, constitutes another major aid action towards Africa in response to the urgent needs of African countries and the appeals of the Ebola affected countries and international organizations.
“China and Africa have always been a community of shared destinies and embody the true friendship in the weal and woe between the Chinese government and people and the government and people of the Ebola-stricken countries. By providing this new batch of aid, China has shown the world the image of an open, inclusive and responsible country which actively participates in relevant international cooperation, holds high the banner of fighting against Ebola and takes the lead in global fight against Ebola,” Ambassador Yanbo concluded.