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Country applauds China's help with Ebola

By Zhang Chunyan in London (China Daily)

Updated: 2015-03-12 07:28:37


Aid assists in establishing hospital complex and treatment center

China is playing a crucial role in the economic revival of Sierra Leone, the West African country's minister of foreign affairs and international cooperation said.

"China was the first country to provide assistance to us when the Ebola virus first struck Sierra Leone," Samura Kamara said in London, adding that China has continued to support the country.

China closely followed the Ebola situation in Sierra Leone and provided timely assistance to help the country fight against the virus, he said. The Chinese government also helped the country rebuild its public health system in the post-Ebola era and resume its socioeconomic development, he added.

"China is building the first permanent laboratory in the country, and it's using this entire hospital complex as a treatment center for Ebola and all other infectious diseases, as a place in which laboratory work can be carried out," he said.

"We are very grateful indeed - China has kept providing money to the government, providing personnel, equipment, providing vehicles, motorcycles. In the fight against Ebola, China has been involved in every department," Kamara said.

The minister said that the post-Ebola recovery plan includes two phases, getting Ebola to zero and dealing with the country's socioeconomic recovery after the end of the crisis.

"We will surely continue to develop economically, but are still in need of strengthening healthcare."

China's public health training program is ongoing in this country. It covers the training of government staff, police officers, the armed forces, as well as community health workers. China plans to train a total of 10,000 people across Africa, with 4,000 of them from Sierra Leone.

"It's important to also note how Chinese assistance comes with no conditions. It doesn't bother about human rights. That doesn't mean that they don't respect human rights, of course," Kamara said.

He said that China has other priorities, such as making poverty reduction possible.

"It is believed that only once people are freed from poverty, conflict will stop," the minister said. Conflict in Sierra Leone often stems from the frustration of one fringe of society, which doesn't have access to resources.

With Chinese aid, the country has the highway, the National Stadium, the China Friendship Hospital, a modern hospital, and so on.

"We now want to strengthen trade," said Kamara, adding that lots of people from Sierra Leone go to Guangzhou, the capital of Guangdong province, where the two countries have many businesses.

Chinese investment in Sierra Leone is also active.

"We have recently developed strong partnerships with a number of Chinese companies," he explained.

"We will protect Chinese investment in our country. ... And we also want to see China grow, as this will allow us to grow in turn," the minister said.


(China Daily 03/12/2015 page8)