Freetown, Oct. 30, 2014 (MOHS) – The Chinese Ambassador to Sierra Leone, Zhao Yanbo has disclosed the provision of $82 million aid to Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia in the fight against the Ebola outbreak.
Speaking during a courtesy call on the Minister of Health and Sanitation at his Youyi Building office in Freetown, Ambassador Yanbo said the gesture came from the Chinese President, Xi Jinping during a meeting with Tanzania’s President Jakaya Kikwete in China, adding that as part of the announcement by the President, Sierra Leone would benefit from additional beds, ambulances, motorcycles, pick-up trucks, incinerators and personal protective equipment.
The Envoy also disclosed the arrival of Chinese Public Health Experts in November to share experience in epidemic control and to help train local health workers.
China, Ambassador Yanbo said has committed to donate $6 million to the UN Ebola Response Multi-Partner Trust Fund to support the UNMEER in containing the Ebola virus disease.
He said China has initiated the China-Africa Public Health Cooperation Plan, which includes organizing 12 seminars on Public Health and Epidemic Control for the three Ebola affected countries Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea, carrying out joint research on tropical diseases and helping African countries to establish an information platform for public health and monitoring network for epidemic prevention and control.
Ambassador Yanbo reiterated their commitment to be at the battle front of the Ebola crisis in the country, noting that the epidemic not only poses a threat to the lives and health of the West African region but also to the public health security of all countries in the world. This he said has become a common challenge facing the international community.
The Director, Department of International Cooperation, National Health and Family Planning Commission Beijing China, Dr. Yong Feng said effective November 1, 2014 they would improve their blood sample test capacity from 60 to 88 per day at the Sierra Leone China Friendship Hospital at Jui. He also disclosed plans to increase the bed capacity of the Holding Centre from 40 to 60 on arrival of the new Chinese Medical Team on November 12, 2014.
Dr. Feng intimated the minister that plans also afoot to train 2000 local staff in four months on community Ebola intervention, social mobilization, basic case management, health promotion and other vital component.
“The construction of a Fixed laboratory at Jui as part of the post Ebola facility and the establishment of an Infection Prevention Control Institute and Resource Centre for tropical diseases formed high point during the discussion.
Responding, Health and Sanitation Minister, Dr. Abu Bakarr Fofanah noted the long standing relationship between China and Sierra Leone and the strategic role in aiding the country in the fight against the Ebola outbreak, expressing gratitude and appreciation over the additional support to all three affected countries: Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia.
The Minister reiterated the importance of the gesture, and highlighted some of the major challenges and benefits that would be derived from the outbreak even in the post Ebola era.
He outlined the need for ambulances in all 149 Chiefdoms in the country, deployment of five (5) per chiefdom, vehicles for Surveillance Officers and motor bikes for Contact Tracers, Personal Protective Equipment, and other Post Ebola needs that would help strengthen staff capacity and effective service delivery.
The Minister welcomes the construction of the Fixed Laboratory and the establishment of a Resource Institute for Tropical Diseases and Public Health in the country.