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China lands first batch to join Ebola fight

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The New Dawn Liberia The New Dawn LiberiaAt least about 160 Chinese medical staff arrived here over the weekend to join the ongoing Ebola fight, as the rate of infection reduces significantly. The staff of 160 medical staff comprises medic experts, epidemiologists, doctors, nurses, engineers and technicians.

[Caption: Above is an aerial view of the ETU, below left is exchange of note between Min. Ngafuan & Amb. Zhang and below right is a group pic]

China has promised to send a total of 500 medical staff from the elite medical squad of the People’s Liberation Army of China.

They will manage and operate the Ebola Treatment Unit (ETU) nearing completion at the Samuel Kanyon Doe (SKD) Sports Complex outside the capital, Monrovia, the Chinese Embassy near Monrovia disclosed.

Chinese Ambassador  to Liberia Zhang Yue received and introduced the team to Liberia’s Foreign Minister  Augustine Kpehe Ngafuan before the pair proceeded with the signing of two agreements on the projects of building and operating an ETU and more anti-Ebola materials to Liberia.

Prior to the signing ceremony, Foreign Minister Ngafuan on behalf of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and the Liberian people and Government welcomed the Chinese medical team and expressed gratitude to the Chinese Government for identifying with Liberia in its Ebola fight.

Minister Ngafuan who described the Chinese contribution as a mark of true friendship noted that the Chinese gesture signals the further consolidation of the strong bilateral relations between Liberia and China.

“I remember too that when we were in critical need of equipment such as PPE’s, gloves and others, your country brought significant hope to our people when you flew in US$1.8 million plane load of equipment and supplies. You brought hope to our people who were getting very frustrated because the jungle of Ebola was fast advancing. And you haven’t stopped there”, he added.

At the same time, the Chinese Ambassador, during a guided tour of the ETU under construction, disclosed to Minister Ngafuan that the center will be ready in a few weeks. The head of the Chinese medical, Mr. Wang Yungui who is also the Vice President of Third Military Medical University of China stressed China’s determination in helping Liberia and other Ebola-affected countries to get rid of Ebola.

According to him, the Chinese medical team is experienced in fighting severe acute respiratory syndrome or SARS epidemic, earthquake rescues, among others. He further disclosed that the total of 500 medical staff will come to Liberia in three batches to treat Ebola patients.

“So, this is a professional infectious disease treatment team”, Wang said via an interpreter. The ETU, valued at around US$41 million, is the highlight of China’s fourth batch of assistance totaling US$82 million to African countries for the fight against Ebola.

As part of the package, China says it will provide Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone which are the most affected countries plagued by the epidemic with 60 ambulances, 100 motorcycles, 10,000 health-care kits, 150, 000 personal protective equipments (PPE’s) and other urgently-needed supplies such as hospital beds, pick-up trucks, incinerators, among others with about US$4.9 million worth of materials to be allocated to Liberia.

Since the first outbreak of the Ebola epidemic in Liberia, the Chinese Government has provided more than US$50 million worth of assistance in cash and supplies to Liberia.

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