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China offers new aid to West Africa in anti-Ebola efforts

Updated: Oct 25,2014 3:56 PM     Xinhua

UNITED NATIONS — China has pledged a new batch of aid worth $82 million to help West Africa fight the Ebola outbreak, making the total Chinese aid to the region for combating the deadly disease reach $122 million.

President Xi Jinping on Oct 24 announced China’s decision to support Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea in their fight against Ebola when meeting with his Tanzanian counterpart, Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete, in Beijing.

Meanwhile, Liu Jieyi, the Chinese permanent representative to the United Nations, told reporters: “China would help improve the relevant countries’ capability of epidemic prevention and control and support the UN’s role as a leader and coordinator in the fight against the virus.”

After the Ebola outbreak in February, China offered three batches of aid worth $40 million to West African countries for the fight against Ebola, Liu said.

“Through the four batches of assistance, China’s message is clear: Ebola is a common public health threat to all countries,” he said, “China and Africa are a community of shared destiny. The Chinese government and people will stand side by side with our African brothers and sisters to tide over this difficult time.”

The World Health Organization (WHO) said on Oct 22 that Ebola has killed 4,877 people globally and there are a total of 9,936 confirmed, probable and suspected cases of Ebola.

The WHO said the spread of the lethal virus remains “persistent and widespread” in West Africa, adding that transmission remains “intense” in the capital cities and cases continue to be underreported.

The fourth batch of Chinese aid includes offering cash and materials and sending health experts to Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea — the three hardest-hit countries in the Ebola crisis.

This time, China will provide hospital with beds, ambulances, pickup trucks, motorcycles, incinerators, preventive gear and other much-needed supplies for the three epidemic-stricken countries, Liu said.

China will build a 100-bed treatment center in Liberia where the epidemic is most serious and send doctors and nurses there for its operation, he said.

China will also send public health experts to the three countries to participate in epidemic prevention and control efforts, introduce China’s experience and provide guidance to improve work plans and technical guidelines, he said.

China is set to send more public health personnel to train local medical staff, he said.

Meanwhile, China has decided to donate $6 million to the UN Ebola Response Multi-Partner Trust Fund, he said.

“Besides, China will launch a program for China-Africa public health cooperation,” Liu said, adding that this program will include:

-- Holding 12 training sessions on public health and epidemic prevention and control for the three epidemic-stricken countries, the African Union and the Economic Community of West African States in 2015;

-- Consolidating Chinese hospitals, anti-malaria centers, screening labs, medical teams and other Chinese public health resources in Africa to carry out joint research on tropical diseases;

-- Helping African countries build platforms of public health information and networks for epidemic prevention, control and monitoring; and

— Actively participating in international cooperation.

“We will strengthen communication and coordination with the UN and the WHO,” Liu said, “We will participate in the meetings of the Core Group of the Global Ebola Response Coalition.”

“We will nominate people to work as high-level officials in the UN Mission for Ebola Emergency Response (UNMEER),” he said.

Established in September by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, UNMEER is the first-ever UN health emergency response mission. It will harness the capabilities and competencies of all the relevant UN actors under a unified operational structure to ensure a rapid, effective, efficient and coherent response to the Ebola crisis.

Liu said China will carry out cooperation with the United States, France, Britain and other countries in epidemic analysis, human resources training, testing and treatment, information sharing and other areas.

In August, China delivered aid worth 30 million yuan (about $5 million) to Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea.

A month later, the government announced another batch of cash, food and material aid and donated $2 million in cash to the WHO and the African Union.

China has dispatched nearly 200 experts and workers to the affected areas to help with the prevention and control of the disease.

China’s mobile laboratory in Sierra Leone has tested more than 500 Ebola samples with 100 percent accuracy. Local health authorities said the data played an important role in assisting the government of Sierra Leone in handling the emergency.

China has also helped 10 neighboring countries of the epidemic-stricken countries and the African Union to improve capacity-building in epidemic prevention and control, said the ambassador.