China to Build Liberia Health System

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The government of the People’s Republic of China has pledged that as a plan for the post-Ebola period, it will work with other international partners to help build and modernize Liberia’s health sector.

The Chinese government through its Ambassador accredited near Monrovia, Zhang Yue, said that there is a need to revamp the country’s health system and China will be wholeheartedly committed to that process as it has always done in the past.

He spoke with reporters shortly after meeting with President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf at her Foreign Affairs office where he had gone to introduce an advance 15-man Chinese medical team that arrived in country during the weekend to join the Ebola fight.

Ambassador Zhang disclosed that the advance medical team comprises doctors, epidemiologists, designers, engineers and technicians, who he said will prepare for the construction of the ETU, exchange views with Liberian officials and experts and international partners.

Medical equipment and building materials valued at US$82 million have begun arriving on a special flight from China to construct a100-bed ETU at the Samuel K. Doe Sports Complex in Paynesville.

This latest contribution is the fourth round of China’s assistance program for Ebola control in West Africa and comprises both cash and supplies

The ETU will be staffed and operated by Chinese doctors and nurses assisted by local health workers.

Ambassador ZHANG said China is not only committed to helping eradicate the deadly Ebola virus that has claimed hundreds of lives from the country and the region, but intends to help develop the country’s health system during the post-Ebola era.

He assured President Sirleaf and Liberians that China’s presence in the Ebola fight in West Africa signifies his country’s full commitment to helping its partners.

He had earlier disclosed plans by China to initiate the China-Africa Public Health Cooperation Plan that includes organizing 12 terms of training programs on public health, epidemic prevention and control for Africa, carrying out joint research on tropical diseases and helping to establish an information platform for public health and a monitoring network for epidemic prevention and control.

It is no secret that the Ebola Virus Disease quickly overwhelmed Liberia and its neighbors as a result of poor and fragile health systems, a situation that needs urgent attention.

The devastation caused by the Ebola outbreak has raised alarm about the fragility of the health system on the entire African continent. This, however, led to the Chairperson of the African Union Commission (AUC), Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, to call for robust actions on the part of African governments.

Dr. Zuma, who visited Liberia last week, warned that as a lesson from the Ebola crisis, African governments should now see the need to develop a robust public health system in their various countries, indicating that this will help African governments to respond adequately to such outbreaks as the EVD and any other future health eventualities.

President Sirleaf welcomed the delegation and lauded China for its continuous assistance to Liberia, which is greatly helping the country in the battle against Ebola.

The Liberian leader urged that the team work as fast as possible to exert further pressure on the virus which is starting to reach a stabilizing level.

She further requested that the ETUs be integrated into community health care services which she said will help prevent recurrence of the disease.

 “We all know the level of work that the Chinese government has done in our health sector especially at the John Fitzgerald Kennedy (JFK) Medical Center and the Jackson F. Doe Medical Center in Nimba County. They have been of great help to us,” the Liberian President said.

China provided US$1.7 million aid package to Liberia on August 11, 2014, the first major international assistance to arrive in country.

China has offered more than US$40 million in aid, dispatched nearly 200 medical staff to the affected areas, and set up a mobile laboratory in Sierra Leone, which has tested more than 500 Ebola samples with 100 per cent accuracy.

It can be recalled China also donated logistics to the Liberian National Police (LNP) worth US$211,781.71 in support of the eradication of Ebola in the country.

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