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Supporting Africa in Fighting Ebola: China speed is commendable

2014/11/22

As an ancient Chinese proverb goes, “Speed is crucial in military affairs”. China speed demonstrated in the country’s economic development, city construction, scientific and technological advancement over the recent decades is well known in the world. Now in face of Ebola, “the most severe public health emergency” in modern times, China once again took the lead in immediately assisting Ebola-affected West African countries, which widely commended by the international community.

China speed in supporting Africa to fight Ebola is reflected in three main aspects:

The first is quick response. Just upon the outbreak of the Ebola epidemic in April this year, China immediately launched emergency assistance. When most western countries failed to pay enough attention to the epidemic that aggravated in August, China took the lead in announcing to provide emergent anti-epidemic supplies worthy of thirty million RMB to most affected Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia, which mainly were medical protective clothing, sterilizing drugs, thermometers, drugs and other needed medical equipments and supplies.

The second is prompt transport. After the announcement of the plan for a second round of assistance, the Chinese government took only one week to deliver anti-epidemic supplies to the three most affected countries by chartered planes. After President Xi Jinping's announcement of the plan for the fourth round of assistance on October 24, building materials and medical equipment needed for the 100-bed treatment center that China have promised to build were delivered in Liberia by three chartered planes on October 26th and 29th.

The third is fast construction. China has timely provided a mobile bio-security laboratory to Sierra Leone, and will build there a fixed bio-security laboratory and observation center to help Sierra Leone to improve public health system and strengthen epidemic prevention and control capability. At present, the building materials and personnel for the construction of the treatment center in Liberia have already arrived. Construction has already started, which is expected to be completed and put into ues within 30 days. The first batch of 160 medical staff for the center is ready to leave for Liberia in mid-November.

The fast and efficient Chinese action has reflected China’s concept on China-Africa cooperation featuring “sincerity, real results, affinity and trust-worthiness” and is a real demonstration of the sincere and tested friendship between China and Africa who share weal and woe, which were widely commended by African countries and the international community. Awa Minister Marie Coll Seck of Senegal said that at the critical moment Senegal making every effort to fight Ebola, the Chinese government reaches out its hand again to provide a large amount of most needed anti-epidemic supplies, which made Senegalese deeply touched. Minister François Ibovi of the Republic of Congo thanked the Chinese government for the selfless assistance and praised China for honoring commitments and fulfilling promises.

At the same time, China’s assistance has played a leading and demonstrative role in the international community. Many Western countries admitted that their response to Ebola has been slow and the measures taken have not been complete. They should draw China’s experience in helping Africa to fight Ebola. A German scholar said that China pays attention not only to trade with Africa, but also to the public health in Africa. China is Africa’s true friend. The Financial Times reported that China’s growing assistance to West African countries shows that China is becoming increasingly mature in participation in international humanitarian causes.

It is fair to say that China made a beautiful first move in helping Africa to fight Ebola.



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