Roundup: Chinese medical teams help to fight Ebola in Africa

by Elise Zoker

When the outbreak of Ebola Virus Disease picked up pace in West Africa, China has sent medical teams and experts to help.
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In February 2014, an Ebola epidemic broke out in Guinea and later spread to Sierra Leone and Liberia, while other countries also reported infection cases.
The outbreak claimed thousands of lives in months and posed a great threat to those affected countries.
Since the outbreak, China has carried out its largest aid program in health area, providing several rounds of financial aids to Africa, sending hundreds of medical personnel and public health experts to the affected countries and training local medical workers on the continent.

The Chinese government has also pledged to perform its duty as a major developing country and do everything in its power to help the Ebola-hit countries along with the international community.
Chinese envoys in countries like Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea reiterate that China will help African countries to develop its health safety system so that they could adapt to the post- Ebola era.

On Jan. 22 in Zurich, the World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Margaret Chan hailed China’s important role in the fight against the Ebola outbreak, calling it “exemplary” for the international community.
Chan said the fight against Ebola still faces huge challenges and she called on the international community and the virus-hit countries to work together to tackle it.

She added that the WHO stands ready to cooperate closely with China, raise the level of awareness and coordinate all sides to achieve the final victory.
In order to fight the largest ever outbreak of this disease, relevant countries have also made positive responses and the international community has offered them numerous aid, which has led to the alleviation of the epidemic situation.

China provided its aid in the first time and so far has sent successively several medical teams and four batches of emergency aid worth a total of 700 million yuan (around 112.2 million U.S. dollars) to the epidemic-hit countries, becoming one of the biggest donors to the infected areas and playing an important role in coping with the epidemic.
In Liberia, an Ebola diagnosis and treatment center, with the funding aid from the Chinese government, started operation on Nov. 25, 2014.

According to the WHO, Liberia has the highest death toll from Ebola in West Africa, which stood at 3,826 as of Feb.11, followed by Sierra Leone and Guinea.
The center, covering an area of over 20,000 square meters and a floor space of more than 5,800 square meters, is equipped with 100 beds for patients. It was built according to the high standard of hospital for infectious-disease prevention and treatment. A buffer area between the disinfected and infected areas was also built.
It is the best one among the treatment centers of its kind in Liberia to date.

The center is being temporarily run and managed by the Chinese side, and a Chinese medical team to Liberia, consisting of 163 medical staff from the Chinese People’s Liberation Army, arrived in Liberia on Nov. 15, 2014 for the operation of the center.
On Jan. 12, the China-financed Ebola Treatment Unit (ETU) in Liberia discharged three Ebola patients after they all tested negative for the virus twice.

The three patients, two women and a seven-year-old boy, were found to be infected with the virus in December and after 20 days of treatment at the Chinese facility, all three were given the all- clear.
In response, Liberian Assistant Health and Social Welfare Minister Tolbert Nyenswah recounted and appreciated the long-term, selfless support that China has provided to Liberia.

The minister commended the rapid Chinese team for the high quality Ebola Treatment Unit constructed in the country which, the government said, has given them courage to feel safe during this Ebola crisis.
The Liberian government pledged to fully cooperate with their Chinese friends to ensure that their work at the ETU goes ahead without hindrance.

“Day by day, Liberia is moving toward its goal of zero case of Ebola. There are positive signs in many areas. Last week the Chinese Ebola Treatment Unit released its first three Ebola survivors. The Chinese ETU also reported that its medical team completed their rotation and a new team of health care workers was welcomed. We were happy to celebrate their success,” the Liberian government said in a statement issued to laud the Chinese team.
In the same vein, Celestine King, one of the Ebola survivor discharged and certificated by Chinese ETU, said her Church was hit by the virus in November 2014 and contracted Ebola after she took someone to the hospital but remembered an advice from a health worker to go to the Chinese ETU whenever she experienced Ebola symptoms.
“I was admitted at the observation ward where they did my test and my test result came that night and was told I was Ebola positive. From there I was taken to the treatment ward, she added. King was all but praise for the Chinese for her recovery.

“The fact that the Chinese left their country to come all the way to fight a disease without any cure is a gesture only a true friend is positioned to give a brother,” she said.
“I am so happy that the Chinese came at a time like this because I don’t think I would have been able to go to any other ETU. The Chinese ETU is clean, the staffs are friendly and you feel comfortable like you are home. I want to say thank you to the Chinese and the Liberian staff that are here,” the Liberian survivor told Xinhua.
On his part, the Commanding Officer of Chinese ETU, Col. Yang Haiwei believed his contingent is providing the best in the Ebola response in the country.

“The Chinese ETU is the best in Liberia for now. We have the best infrastructure and we have 154 members in our team in total working for the ETU. We have 80 Liberian staff working in this ETU, ” Yang said.
According to him, “By the WHO regulations, we have designed this place scientifically. Properly maintained, the Liberian government can keep this place for a long time. We have the triage center, the observation center and the treatment center. Also, we have the training area and the disinfection area,” Col. Yang said.
“Since November 25, 2014, we have tested 133 persons and we have taken in 81 persons, including 6 confirmed cases and 3 confirmed cases survived at last,” he added.

Source: Xinhua

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