President Koroma short of words
March 16, 2015 By Alusine Sesay
President Ernest Bai Koroma was last Friday overwhelmed with joy, with very little to say, while receiving 40 brand new ambulances, 10 pick-up trucks, 30 motorbikes, 1,000 hospital beds, large quantity of assorted/anti-malaria drugs, and 10 incinerators from the Peoples Republic of China, but promised to move a high-powered delegation to express a personal thank you to the Chinese President.
President Koroma recounted numerous supports – including infrastructure, agriculture, capacity building – that China has provided for Sierra Leone prior to and during the Ebola outbreak, noting: “Today’s support is very much significant because it sends a message to us Sierra Leoneans that Ebola is still with us. It also sends a message to donors that they should not lower their guard in supporting the fight against Ebola and that more support is needed.”
He described the support as strategic for recovery in the health sector during post-Ebola, adding that “China has always been there for us and their support has no conditionality. Their support in the fight against Ebola has contributed greatly in the success we have recorded. They were the first to have responded to our call and they have flown in over five chartered planes of support to fight Ebola in the country.”
President Koroma thanked the Chinese government and people for their support to Sierra Leone during the Ebola outbreak.
Chinese Ambassador to Sierra Leone, H.E. Zhao Yanbo, noted that the donation would not only be used in the fight against Ebola but also in rebuilding the public health system of the country.
He said: “The support carries the Chinese people’s feeling and passion for Sierra Leoneans, and it embodies the relationship between the two countries. As friends, China has the same feelings and passion as Sierra Leone.”
He said China had deployed 130 medical personnel in Sierra Leone while the public health training team has trained over 6,000 medics across the country.
“The Chinese medical team initiated an anti-Ebola project to work with local people for surveillance, contact tracing, among others. China is proud to helping Sierra Leone in the fight against Ebola and our support will not stop with the Ebola,” he said.
He praised President Koroma for exhibiting strong leadership in the fight against the disease, adding that though significant achievement has been recorded in the fight there is still more to be done to end Ebola in the country.
Ambassador Yanbo expressed optimism that the fight will soon be won and that the materials will play a significant role in achieving ‘zero new cases’.
He underscored that, “The support will be the vivid chapter of the bilateral relationship between China and Sierra Leone. Together we will win the fight and rebuild the country’s socio-economic development as quickly as possible”.