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China to boost UN fund by $6m in Ebola war

Updated: 2014-12-03 07:45
By Zhong Nan (China Daily)

China donated $6 million on Tuesday to the United Nations' fund for combating the outbreak of the Ebola virus in West Africa.

In addition, the number of Chinese medical workers in affected countries will increase to 1,000 over the next few months.

The donation will be used to support the UN's mission to build up health service networks and collaborative projects with a number of national and local governments. Some of the cash will finance work being carried out by private contractors to improve sanitary conditions in West Africa.

Assistant Minister of Commerce Zhang Xiangchen said China's financial support is designed to provide a flexible response during a critical period.

"It allows areas of urgent need to be identified and the money to be used accordingly," said Zhang.

China has donated $19 million through the UN Development Program to a number of African nations since the outbreak began.

The money has helped not only Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea, the three countries where the virus is most rampant, but also neighboring states including Ghana, Mali, Togo, Benin, the Republic of Congo and Nigeria.

More than 500 Chinese medical personnel are providing treatment and taking part in patient observation, virus research and support operations in Africa.

The construction of a 100-bed Ebola treatment center in Monrovia funded by the Chinese government was completed at the end of November.

Zhang said China will work with the UN, the African Union and the World Health Organization to host 12 sessions of seminars on disease prevention and the development of a public health services system next year to help African countries train more medical professionals.

The country will also step up its cooperation with various African governments to improve its ability to prevent and cure infectious diseases.

Alain Noudehou, the UN's resident coordinator and the UN Development Program's resident representative in China, said most African nations lack healthcare infrastructure, funds and personnel.

Controlling the spread of the disease will be a focus of future assistance, he added.

Chinese personnel who obtained experience in disease prevention and control during the 2003 SARS epidemic will provide training for medical workers, grassroots administrators, community leaders, government staff, students and volunteers. More than 10,000 people in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea will receive the training.

In addition, China will continue to offer various types of assistance including materials, food, cash, mobile laboratories and joint research.

zhongnan@chinadaily.com.cn

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