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People's Daily Online

China tackles Ebola in Liberia

People's Daily Online

(Global Times) 09:22, November 17, 2014

China has dispatched more than 160 military medical workers to operate an Ebola treatment center in Monrovia, the capital of Liberia - the first time that China has consigned a large military medical group overseas.

The People's Liberation Army (PLA) workers arrived in Monrovia on Saturday and will start to operate the 100-bed treatment center on November 25, China's Embassy in Liberia told the Global Times on Sunday.

Unlike countries such as the United States that have constructed treatment centers without dispatching operational staff, China is the only country that will both build and operate a clinic in the Ebola-stricken areas, the secretary of the Ambassador said.

Liberia, the worst-hit country in the Ebola epidemic that began in March, had witnessed 2,812 deaths out of a total of 6,878 reported cases in the country as of Friday, according to the latest figures by the World Health Organization.

'The (PLA) contingent includes 62 medical technicians and 68 nurses, most of whom had participated in the combat against severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), earthquake relief, multinational joint military exercises and peacekeeping operations,' Wang Yungui, the team head, was quoted by China News Service as saying on Saturday.

Management personnel and technicians also joined the team to support the operation of the clinic, the secretary said.

The medical personnel, most of whom are from the infectious disease and public health divisions at Third Military Medical University in Southwest China's city of Chongqing, will treat patients diagnosed with Ebola, observe people with suspected Ebola infections and train local medical workers, the secretary said.

Training local medical personnel is one of the major focuses for the team, as the restoration of the paralyzed public health system depends on the locals, the secretary added.

Upon the arrival of the medical workers, China's Ambassador, Zhang Yue, and Liberia's Foreign Minister, Augustine Kpehe Ngafuan, signed a protocol on the establishment and operation of the treatment center, as well as an agreement that China will provide Liberia with medical supplies worth 300 million yuan ($48.9 million), the Xinhua News Agency reported on Sunday.

The team is expected to stay in Monrovia for two months, after which another contingent of around 160 medical workers will take over, the secretary noted.

Another three teams of Chinese medical workers and health officials also left for West Africa, the area afflicted by Ebola, late Friday to help in the fight against the disease, China Radio International reported on Saturday.

As of now, China has sent more than 300 medical staff and public health experts to West African countries.

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