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‘Public health important area of friendly cooperation between China and Sierra Leone’

-Says Chinese Ambassador

September 18, 2020

Group photo of Chinese medical officers, government officials and Chinese diplomats

Chinese Ambassador to Sierra Leone, Hu Zhangliang has stated that public health is an important area of the friendly cooperation between the People’s Republic of China and Sierra Leone.

He says since 1973, China has sent over 500 Chinese medical and health experts to Sierra Leone to provide help in the medical sector of the country.

“Public health is an important area of the friendly cooperation between our two countries. Since 1973, China has sent over 500 Chinese medical and health experts to Sierra Leone to provide help and according to incomplete statistics, over the years, the Chinese medical expert teams have helped diagnose and treat over 800 thousand patients, conducted more than 200 thousand cases of operations and trained over 6,000 local medical staff, he said.

He was on Tuesday September 15thspeaking at the farewell party for the three Chinese Medical Expert Teams in Sierra Leone.

He said when Ebola virus broke out in Sierra Leone in 2014, the Chinese Government promptly sent in large quantities of medical supplies as well as medical staff, and helped set up mobile and fixed biosafety laboratories.

He also stated that the Chinese medical and health experts, including the outgoing ones, have made well-recognized contributions to Sierra Leone’s medical and health development as well as the promotion of China-Sierra Leone friendship.

He said at present the COVID-19 pandemic is still ravaging the world, posing enormous threat to people’s lives and health, as well as global public health security.

 He stated that during this difficult time, China and Sierra Leone have been firmly together.

Ambassador Hu said China provided swift assistance to Sierra Leone to support the latter’s fight against the pandemic even though China herself was faced with huge challenges and pressure.

 He said so far, the Chinese side has provided seven rounds of urgent donation to Sierra Leone.

The Chinese diplomats said the donated items include PPEs, respirators, facial masks, medical gloves, ventilators, testing kits among others, adding that he was glad to know that those most needed materials have been essential in enhancing Sierra Leone’s capabilities of combating the pandemic.

The three Chinese medical teams in Sierra Leone have been working day and night with their local colleagues in case detection, patient treatment and technical training and that they have all together conducted 9,000 testings, participated in treating and rescuing over 270 patients and lives, and organized trainings for 300 local staff.

“It is a real pleasure to see that under the strong leadership of H.E. President Julius Maada Bio, the Sierra Leonean government and people have displayed a high degree of tenacity and resilience, which resulted in notable achievements in the control of the pandemic,” he said.

He further stated that China and Africa have always been a community with a shared future, noting that at the Virtual Opening of the 73rd World Health Assembly and the Extraordinary China-Africa Summit on Solidarity against COVID-19, President Xi Jinping announced a series of major measures to support other parts of the world, particularly Africa in fighting against COVID-19.

He said those measures include US$2 billion of international aid over two years, the establishment of a cooperation mechanism for Chinese hospitals to pair up with 30 African hospitals, the COVID-19 vaccine to be used as a global public good once it is developed and deployed in China, and the implementation of the Debt Service Suspension Initiative for the poorest countries together with other G20 members.

He said the Chinese side is now in close communication with the Sierra Leonean side in implementing relevant initiatives.

He said the COVID-19 has brought about profound changes to the world, with tremendous efforts and enormous cost, China has made major strategic achievements in bringing COVID-19 under control.

He stated that China has also been in the vanguard of promoting international cooperation in combating the virus.

He said certain countries, or more precisely put, certain political forces in those countries are bucking the trend by pursuing protectionism and unilateralism and instead of joining hands, they politicize the pandemic, label the virus and stigmatize China.

He said those countries grossly interfere in Hong Kong affairs which fall within China’s internal affairs.

“They backed the “Xinjiang Independence” and “Taiwan independence” secessionist forces and they keep on taking provocative actions in the South China Sea to stir up troubles. They mobilized state power to hit Huawei and other Chinese high-tech companies and their purpose is to contain and destabilize China. China does not make trouble, but is not afraid of trouble. Under the staunch leadership of the Communist Party of China, guided by Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era, China will continue to follow the path of peaceful development and work with the international community, including Sierra Leone, to build a new type of international relations featuring mutual respect, fairness, justice and win-win cooperation and to build a community with a shared future for mankind,” he said.

He said next year 2021 marks the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Sierra Leone and standing at the new historical starting point, China is willing to work with Sierra Leone to further enrich the contents of China-Sierra Leone comprehensive strategic cooperative partnership, and promote common development by deepening political mutual trust, expanding win-win cooperation, strengthening people to people exchanges and overcoming the impact of the pandemic.

Also speaking at the event, the Minister of Health and Sanitation,Professor  Alpha Tejan Wirrie said when Sierra Leone was going through the Ebola virus crisis in 2014, China was the first country to offer help, among other countries.

He said at a time when the Ebola virus fatality rate was high and the possibility of people surviving it was low, China stood alongside Sierra Leone.

“The two countries have graduated from friendship and now on the verge of brotherhood,” he said.

He said at the start of COVID-19 in January 2020, President Julius Maada Bio decided to visit the 34 Military Hospital to look at the only isolation and treatment Centre, which was built for the people of Sierra Leone by the People’s Republic of China.

He said before the country recorded its first case, they had the conviction that China will lead the way for the country to start conducting test in the country.

He said as a country, they felt good that human resource development is key to nation building, noting that the development of the Sierra Leone scientific base is synonymous to China.

Porfessor Wurie said the current Chief Medical Officer and his deputy were trained in China and that many other medical practitioners that are contributing greatly in the health sector also trained in China.

He said since the outbreak reached the country, the government has received donations from the People’s Republic of China seven times including the donation of thirty two thousand test kits.

“As you leave our shores, remember you have your brothers and sisters in Sierra Leone.  As you leave our shores, remember your contribution will always remain in the minds of Sierra Leoneans and tell those that are coming that Sierra is a beautiful country,” he said.

Minister of Defence, who also doubles as National Coordinator of NaCOVERC, thanked the government and the people of China for not only supporting Sierra Leone from afar, but for also sending their sons and daughters to come to Sierra Leone and help save lives.

He said China has tirelessly supported Sierra Leone health sector and in the fight against COVID-19, noting that the doctors that are bidding farewell have sacrificed a lot and assured them that their sacrifices will never be forgotten.

He said the relationship between both countries started way back and that Sierra Leone has benefited a lot from the relationship.
He said after the successful defeat of the Ebola virus in 2015, the Chinese government promised to strengthen the health system in the country to resist any further outbreak, stating that to address that promise, the Chinese government constructed a ten million United States Dollars tropical disease infections prevention treatment Centre, well equipped and capable of testing for Ebola virus, coronavirus and other diseases.

He said the Chinese also established the infectious prevention unit at the 34 Military Hospital that responses to most severe case of COVID-19 across the country.

He said the Sierra Leone’s military has also benefited from the friendship and that many personal are in China receiving training in different fields.

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