Chinese President Xi Jinping announced a few days ago that China would provide the fourth-round emergency aid valued 500 million yuan to African countries to fight against Ebola. On October 29, Spokesman of the Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) Sun Jiwen made a comment on the contents and progress of this round of aid.
Sun said that the fourth round of aid included six aspects. Firstly, consultation groups of expertise on public health would be dispatched to Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea to help with and participate in the prevention and control of Ebola. More public health personnel would also be dispatched to help the three countries train local medical care personnel in batches. Secondly, material aid in badly need including hospital beds, ambulances, personal safety equipment and incinerators would be provided to help the three countries promote the ability of receiving, curing and transferring patients, as well as increasing their ability of disinfecting and disposing medical waste. Thirdly, a therapeutic center with 100 beds would be constructed in Liberia and 160 medical personnel would be sent to operate it. Fourthly, US$ 6 million would be donated to the multilateral trust fund of the UN to combat Ebola. Fifthly, the China-Africa long-term cooperation plan on public health would be launched. In 2015, China will host 12 training courses on public health and prevention and control of the epidemic situation for African countries and regional organizations like the three countries, the AU and the West African Economic Community, conduct China-Africa joint study on the prevention and treatment of infectious diseases, and positively dispatch experts to take part in the construction of the African disease control and prevention center of the AU. Sixthly, China will strengthen international cooperation, take part in the regular meeting of the core group of UNMIT combating Ebola, and send personnel to take up the post of senior officer of UNMIT.
Sun also said that the Ministry of Commerce has launched the implementation of the above measures together with related departments. The therapeutic center with 100 beds to be constructed in Liberia would be built by the Chinese People’s Liberation Army, which would also send a medical team to operate and manage it. The building material, medical facilities and logistics materials have been transported in recent days by air and sea to Monrovia, capital of Liberia. The center will be completed and put into use as soon as possible. The leading group of the construction with 15 people arrived at Monrovia on October 26 and has started their work.
Since the outbreak of Ebola in March this year in West African countries, China’s government has made quick reaction, and provided three batches of emergency humanitarian aid valued 250 million yuan to the countries in April, August and September.
Ebola virus disease (EVD), formerly known as Ebola haemorrhagic fever, is a severe, often fatal illness in humans. The virus is transmitted to people from wild animals and spreads in the human population through human-to-human transmission. The average EVD case fatality rate is around 50%. Case fatality rates have varied from 25% to 90% in past outbreaks. The first EVD outbreaks occurred in remote villages in Central Africa, near tropical rainforests, but the most recent outbreak in west Africa has involved major urban as well as rural areas. Early supportive care with rehydration, symptomatic treatment improves survival. There is as yet no licensed treatment proven to neutralise the virus but a range of blood, immunological and drug therapies are under development. There are currently no licensed Ebola vaccines.