China boosts Ebola containment efforts in West Africa

China has announced a new round of assistance to Ebola stricken countries of West Africa amounting to $81 million.

China has announced a new round of assistance to Ebola stricken countries of West Africa amounting to $81 million.

This batch of assistance is the fourth of its kind since the outbreak of Ebola in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone in March.

Assistance will include setting up of a 100 –bed treatment centre in Liberia, the only one to be constructed, staffed and operated by a foreign country, according to Lin Songtian, the director-general, Department of African Affairs in China.

Addressing local and international press in Beijing on Friday, Lin Songtian said China’s aid to Africa in fighting Ebola has been the longest in terms of time and the biggest in terms of amount.

“Ebola is a common enemy of mankind; it has threatened the safety of people in Africa but also posed a public health security for all countries around the world. Efforts to stop the disease serve the interests of the affected countries and other countries around the world, including China,” he said.

The treatment centre in Liberia will be managed and operated by the elite squad of the People’s Liberation Army of China.

The squad has the experience of fighting epidemics like Sars (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) that hit China in 2002 claiming over 300 people, according to officials.

China has already sent three batches of emergency assistance to the affected West African ocuntries since April, amounting to $40.1million and over 700 staff helping contain the epidemic.

The fourth round of assistance will also see the provision of 60 ambulances, 100 motorcycles, thousands of health care kits and personal protection equipment among others.

 China has over 2,500 businesses registered in Africa and has become  the biggest trading partner to Africa and source of investments and, according to Lin Songtian, “to help Africa defeat the disease and restore the economies of these countries is our responsibility.”

 China will also donate $6 million to the UN Ebola Response Multi-partner Trust Fund; a fund that was set up to ensure a coherent UN System contribution to the overall Ebola outbreak response.

The official called on other developed countries to keep their promises their promises to help contain the haemorrhagic fever in Africa.

About 5,000 fatalities have been recorded in the countries of Liberia, Guinea, Sierra Leone and Nigeria, the World Health Organisation said. Sierra Leone is the worst hit by the epidemic. One death has been recorded in the US and another in Mali.