Chinese Ebola doctors leave for Africa

Updated: 2014-08-10 22:42


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BEIJING - Chinese disease control experts will leave for three West African nations affected by Ebola on Sunday evening and Monday, the National Health and Family Planning Commission (NHFPC) said on Sunday.

The NHFPC announced on Saturday that China will send three expert teams and medical supplies to Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone to assist the prevention and control of the Ebola virus.

China dispatched emergency humanitarian aid supplies from Shanghai to West African nations hit by Ebola on Sunday.

The relief is expected to arrive on Monday or Tuesday after it left Shanghai at 3 p.m., Ministry of Commerce (MOC) spokesman Sun Jiwen said.

Each medical team will be composed of one epidemiologist and two specialists in disinfection and protection from the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention (China CDC) and other institutions.

Chinese experts will help train local medical workers and assist Chinese embassies in these countries to distribute medical supplies, said Sun Hui, a member of the medical teams.

They will also help Chinese nationals in those countries to strengthen disease prevention and control, he said.

Three Chinese medical teams are already working in the three African nations. The new experts will also train their staff and work with them to help local doctors, Sun said.

This will be the first time that China has offered assistance to foreign countries in response to a public health emergency.

The West African nations, lacking medicines and disease prevention knowledge, are in urgent need of material support and expertise as the epidemic has not yet been controlled, said Wang Yu, head of China CDC.

The MOC has been preparing the relief materials after the government announced on Aug. 7 that China would provide relief worth 30 million yuan (4.9 million U.S. dollars) to Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea.

The materials mainly include medical protective clothes, disinfectants, thermo-detectors and medicines, Sun said.

This is the second batch of Ebola relief from China. In May, the country sent its first batch of relief goods, mostly for disease prevention, control and treatment, to Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea-Bissau, valued at one million yuan for each country.

The virus has claimed nearly 1,000 lives in West Africa, mostly in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.

The World Health Organization warned on Friday that the disease is now a "public health emergency of international concern" and called for a coordinated international response to stop and reverse the international spread of Ebola.