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Training on Chinese anti-Ebola equipment today

By Samuel Ben Turay

President Ernst Bai Koroma and Chinese leader, Xi Jinping

President Ernst Bai Koroma and Chinese leader, Xi Jinping

Three Chinese public health experts from the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention will today train Sierra Leonean medical officers on how to use anti-Ebola medical materials donated by China to help Sierra Leone fight the deadly virus.

Head of Political Affairs and Spokesman of the Chinese Embassy in Freetown, Xu Zhou, told Concord Times that the training, which will target Sierra Leonean medical staff from across the country, will commence today at 9:30 at the Bintumani Hotel, Aberdeen in Freetown.

On Monday (11 August), a chartered Boeing 747 plane carrying Chinese emergency humanitarian anti-Ebola medical materials arrived at the Lungi International Airport. The cargo plane contained anti-Ebola materials worth an estimated US$1.63 million, according to the top Chinese diplomat in Sierra Leone, Ambassador Zhao Yanbo.

This latest batch of Chinese medical aid includes personal protective equipment, disinfectants, stretchers, thermometers, patient monitors, sprays and medicines.

In late April, the Chinese government provided the first batch of medical materials valued at US$163,000, barely days before the virus was confirmed to have spread into the country from neighbouring Guinea.

Before he formally presented the items to Sierra Leone, Ambassador Yanbo said the donation was in response to an appeal from the Sierra Leonean government, and the items were not just aid materials to help the country stem the Ebola outbreak, but a manifestation of friendly sentiments, concrete support and heartfelt encouragement from the Chinese government and people.

Deputy Foreign Minister, Dr. Strasser-King and Deputy Health Minister, Dr. Fofanah commended China for the timely and much-needed medical aid to Sierra Leone. They expressed their appreciation to China for sending a medical expert team to train local workers on the use of the equipment.

Both officials expressed optimism that the medical materials would enhance Sierra Leone’s capacity to end the spread of Ebola, which according to official government figures has killed 254 persons out of 683 cases, with an estimated 181 survivors.