Updated: 2015-04-06 07:17
By SHAN JUAN(China Daily)
Funding and expertise
As the first cases were disclosed in March of last year, China quickly provided additional medical supplies worth 1 million yuan to four of the most affected countries, including Guinea, Liberia, Guinea-Bissau and Sierra Leone. In August, the second package of assistance, mainly emergency medical supplies worth 30 million yuan, was flown to the affected countries, thereby easing a desperate lack of protective equipment.
In September, China ramped up assistance significantly by opening a biosafety lab and providing protective treatment supplies and food assistance. The WHO and the African Union were each given $2 million worth of emergency funds. The third round of emergency aid amounted to 200 million yuan. In October, the fourth package of assistance worth 500 million yuan was in place. China dispatched teams of public health and medical experts, continued to provide emergency supplies and initiated long-term cooperation plans to combat Ebola in West Africa.
Setting up a laboratory
In September, a team of 59 Chinese scientists was dispatched to Sierra Leone to develop a mobile laboratory there, helping to test samples and to improve the local lab's capacity in response to serious outbreaks, Cui recalled.
The Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, together with the Academy of Military Medical Sciences and the Chinese Academy of Medical Science, sent medical experts and more than 90 tons of medical and logistical supplies to Sierra Leone. The medical team departed on Sept 16, while all other aid supplies were shipped the next day.
Through active cooperation with local government and international organizations, Chinese medical scientists developed diagnostic protocols and preventive measures, installed a remote temperature monitoring system and verified a kit they had developed to detect the disease. The mobile lab began operating on Oct 1.
Based upon local needs and the epidemic level, the scientists upgraded Sino-Leone Friendship Hospital from a testing and observation center to a disease treatment center. Meanwhile, a level-three biosafety laboratory established with aid from China was officially opened on Nov 20.
"These will stay in Africa to help enhance the local epidemic response capacity," Cui said.
Knowledge is considered necessary to empower locals to handle epidemic outbreaks properly. To that end, China has sent a team to train local public health staff members in the three worst-affected countries of Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea and another six neighboring countries with high epidemic risks, according to Liang Xiaofeng, deputy director of China CDC.
More than 10,000 local residents, including medical staff, community healthcare workers, government officials and volunteers, have been trained for strengthening public awareness of self-protection and disease prevention.
On the clinical side, in mid-January, China's Ebola treatment center in Liberia for the first time released three patients cured after 22 days of treatment, including a 7-year-old boy.
As the embodiment of China-Liberia friendship, the 100-bed treatment center funded by China opened on Nov 25 and started to accept patients for observation and testing on Dec 5.
The center's commitments cover treatment of confirmed patients, observation of suspected sufferers, public health training in disease prevention and control, and communication with experts in Liberia. With the most advanced equipment, the treatment center is one of the most outstanding in Liberia.
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