China / Society

Chinese medical teams work with governments to fight Ebola

By Li Lianxing in Nairobi, Kenya (China Daily) Updated: 2014-08-12 08:17

Chinese medical teams sent to African countries hit by the Ebola outbreak will work with local and Chinese governments to combat the deadly disease.

Wang Yaoping, director of the Chinese medical team in Sierra Leone, told China Daily that the country has offered protection gear to local hospitals, including suits and sterilizing equipment.

There are nine medical staff and one team member in the country from Yueyang, Hunan province. The team's missions are to see and receive patients in Freetown, the capital, while educating and giving suggestions to the local Chinese community.

"In the initial stage, the disease was not given enough attention and importance, so it quickly became a disaster," he said. "Later, strict procedures, like banning gatherings, have effectively controlled the spread, but they are still far from enough."

The priority is to isolate all infected patients and anyone who had physical contact with them, which will help curtail the spread of the disease, Wang said.

The medical teams have cooperated with the Chinese embassy and chambers of commerce to give information to local Chinese companies and individuals, he said.

"International coverage of this epidemic gave strong impetus to local government and society to combat Ebola more seriously. Although it has a high fatality rate, knowledge of precautions and action can greatly help reduce the chances of infection," he added.

Zhang Yanjie, a senior doctor with the Chinese medical team in Ethiopia, said this kind of contagious disease can be efficiently controlled by strict procedures, even with a less-developed medical system in Africa.

"It's very important to raise public awareness," he said. "The most important thing is to find out the source of contagion and isolate it to avoid more infection."

According to the World Health Organization, the Ebola outbreak has killed nearly 1,000 people in four West African nations: Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria and Sierra Leone.

In Nigeria, which had nine confirmed Ebola cases including two deaths as of Aug 4, "life goes on at a normal pace in the busiest city of Lagos in Nigeria, and I don't see any panic in my surroundings," said Wu Tao, secretary of the Nigerian-Chinese Chamber of Industry and Commerce.

"We all know how situation is developing since it's reported, and we believe it can be properly controlled," he said.

He said that the Chinese community, one of the biggest foreign communities in the country, is concerned but not panicking. The Chinese embassies and chambers of commerce have circulated information about precautions and have opened special hotlines.

Shan Juan contributed to the story.

Hot Topics