President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf and her key officials have held a bilateral meeting with a visiting Chinese delegation led by the Vice Minister of National Health and Family Planning Commission, Cui Li.
An Executive Mansion release said at the bilateral meeting which took place at the Foreign Ministry in Monrovia, the Liberian President requested the Chinese medical contingent to work closely with their Liberian medical counterparts to develop the criteria and protocols for the effective operation of the Ebola Treatment Unit (ETU).
“As the ETU looks like a field hospital and is well equipped, let’s think far ahead by ensuring that it will still be useful to help Liberians after the eradication of the Ebola virus disease,” President Sirleaf said.
She reminded Vice Minister Cui Li that the site of the ETU is a sports stadium built by the Chinese and was due for serious renovation work when the Ebola virus struck and emphasized the need to still do so once the disease is defeated.
The Liberian leader stressed the need to train healthcare workers not just for the running of ETUs but for regular healthcare which is critical for Liberia’s post-Ebola era, urging the Chinese to give training equal attention.
“Chinese doctors were deployed across health facilities in Liberia before the Ebola outbreak. Many of them left and now that there are over 200 Chinese healthcare workers here to fight Ebola, plans must be made to have some of them deployed to the rural counties to strengthen regular healthcare and the Ebola response,” President Sirleaf urged the visiting delegation.
She recognized that China is a strong partner to Liberia in the educational sector and expressed the hope that interventions will be made to strengthen training programs in higher educational institutions. “You have provided numerous scholarships to deserving and needy Liberians to seek quality education and I remain optimistic that you will continue to do so.”
Also speaking, Vice Minister Cui Li extended best wishes from the President of the People’s Republic of China, Xi Jinping and praised President Sirleaf for leading Liberia to success particularly in the fight against the Ebola virus disease.
“Under your able leadership, international and regional organizations as well as friendly governments from across the globe have come together to rebuild Liberia in the past and now helping the country to stop the further spread of the Ebola disease. China has now joined fully in this effort with the construction and dedication of a high quality 100-bed ETU,” Ms Li said.
She thanked President Sirleaf and her government for supporting the Chinese effort to build an ETU and announced that it will be operational in a week’s time.
She indicated that alongside the operation of the ETU, the Chinese will provide training for healthcare workers to fill the manpower gap in the management of Ebola and other illnesses. She also recalled China’s initial assistance which came long before the construction of the ETU to be run by Chinese in partnership with Liberian healthcare workers.
She promised that China will continue its many developmental initiatives in Liberia once the Ebola virus is eradicated. “China’s financial assistance is important and will always reflect in Liberia. We will also continue to play a greater role in the fight against the disease until it is finally eradicated,” Cui Li assured.
Vice-Minister Cui Li pledged to encourage Chinese investors to invest in the Liberian economy when Ebola is gone and expressed regret that the impact of the virus on the economy is devastating for a post-conflict nation such as Liberia. She said China will stand by Liberia in its economic recovery plan after Ebola. “China will resume all of its projects halted due to the Ebola outbreak”, she confirmed.
She disclosed that more Chinese donated supplies are on its way to Liberia via special flight and vessels to accelerate the fight against the Ebola.