A 160-member Chinese medical team on Saturday arrived in the country to operate and manage the Samuel K. Doe Ebola Treatment Unit being constructed by the Government of China.
Speaking to journalists at the welcoming ceremony held at the at the Samuel K. Doe Sports Complex in Paynesville Saturday, Chinese Ambassador Zhang Yue said the team is the first batch of 500 Chinese medical personnel expected to work in Liberia to treat Ebola patients.
Yue said the squad comprises medical experts, epidemiologists, doctors, nurses, engineers and technicians from the People’s Liberation Army of China, many of whom have experience in fighting Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS).
SARS is an infectious respiratory illness caused by a Corona Virus. It first case occurred in Guangdong Province in China in late 2002 and later spread across the world claiming the lives of about 774 people.
The Chinese envoy put the cost of the construction and operation of the ETU at about US$41 million. He said the latest assistance is China’s fourth batch of assistance to Liberia, bringing its assistance package to Liberia’s Ebola fight to US$82 million.
According to Yue, China under its fourth assistance will provide 60 ambulances, 100 motorcycles, 10,000 health-care kits, 150,000 Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs) as well as other urgently needed medical supplies such as pick-up and hospitals beds to the three most hit Ebola countries, with Liberia receiving around US$4.5 million worth of the materials.
He noted that the medical team will also train local medical practitioners who will assist them in the running of the ETU.
Foreign Minister Augustine Ngafuan who represented President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf at the ceremony, lauded the Government and people of China for their unwavering support to Liberia’s fight against the Ebola epidemic.
He thanked the medical team for taking up the challenge to come to Liberia to help save lives, noting, “This signifies to the Government and people of Liberia that indeed China is a true friend and that we will forever remain grateful to you.”