China helps Africa fight Ebola

BEIJING, Dec. 25 (Xinhua) — The specter of Ebola is still haunting West Africa, with the World Health Organization (WHO) saying Wednesday that the virus has killed 7,588 people worldwide out of 19,497 confirmed cases.

China, which experienced a severe outbreak of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome over a decade ago and strongly sympathizes with the suffering of the African people, was among the first countries to offer help.

Since April, China has delivered four rounds of humanitarian aid with a combined value of more than 120 million U.S. dollars to the Ebola-stricken countries and sent hundreds of medical workers to the African frontline.

In addition, Beijing has offered another 10 million dollars in cash to international organizations as part of the global collective efforts in subduing the fatal virus.

“China is one of the countries that responded very quickly to the appeal by the Secretary-General for more help,” said David Nabarro, the UN coordinator for the fight against Ebola, in a recent interview with Xinhua.

The quick and efficient response of the Chinese people is valuable for these affected countries, added Nabarro.


In a room of the Sierra Leone-China Friendship Hospital, 30 km east of the country’s capital, Freetown, lay a little girl infected with the deadly virus. Her mother had died of the virus, and her father had abandoned his family before the massive outbreak.

The bedridden girl, named Yayuma, was admitted to the 100-bed treatment and holding center in November in critical condition, suffering from fever, vomiting, diarrhea and bleeding gums, according to Chinese medical workers.

In the following nine days, Yayuma was too weak to speak or eat, but on the 10th day, she seemed to regain some strength and asked the nurses for food.

“Her temperature returned to normal, and diarrhea and vomiting were less frequent. She recovered so fast that she could walk on her own on the 12th day,” said Jin Bo, a Chinese doctor in the medical team, who could not hide his joy about the girl’s speedy recovery, especially after witnessing the loss of so many lives.

“The biggest challenge is to communicate with the patients and help reduce their loneliness and fears,” said Wu Dan, the head nurse of the medical team.

Feeling isolated while being treated at the center, some patients refused to take medicine, some sank into depression, and others even got angry with the medical staff, said Wu.

To cheer Yayuma up, nurses kept giving her chocolate, biscuits and ham sausages. Beside her pillow, there was a teddy bear donated by a young Chinese nurse who brought the toy from China as a loving token of her own baby that she had to leave back at home.

“We want to do more than just cure the girl’s illness,” said Jin.

By early December, the treatment center had received nearly 400 people, of whom 140 were able to leave after being confirmed no longer carrying the Ebola virus.

So far, the center has received more Ebola patients than any other facilities in Sierra Leone, said Li Jin, head of the Chinese medical team based in the country.


To the north of the SKD Stadium of Monrovia, Liberia’s capital, a China-built medical center received on Tuesday its first confirmed Ebola patient, a 22-year-old woman, since it was put into commission at the end of November.

On the night of Dec. 5, the center received its first suspected Ebola patient.

So far, the facility, part of the fourth emergency aid package from the Chinese government, has received 37 patients. Currently, nine of the 27 suspected Ebola patients remain in the center for treatment and observation, according to Chinese doctors.

A team of more than 160 medical personnel from the Chinese People’s Liberation Army have been helping the Liberian government run the facility.

“In Liberia, I am first a soldier and then an expert in epidemic control,” said Liu Ding, infection control director with the Daping Hospital of the Third Military Medical University in China.

Given the highly contagious nature of the virus, even a slightest mistake could bring about catastrophic consequences. As a result, Liu and his colleagues have been working under tremendous pressure.

The intensity of work, psychological pressure as well as the jet-lag have encroached on the sleeping time of Liu, who can only sleep three to four hours a day even with the help of sleeping pills.

The center, covering an area of 5,800 square meters and equipped with 100 beds, was built in accordance with the standards of hospitals specializing in treating infectious diseases.

In line with WHO criteria, it is installed with a network of videophones and two electronic systems — one for monitoring patients and the other for keeping and managing medical records.

At the opening ceremony of the medical center, Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf hailed China’s efforts in helping his country fight Ebola.

“We called for help from our partners and China was one of the first countries to answer our call,” said Sirleaf.

The medical center, a top facility in treating epidemic diseases, is not only a model for Liberia-China cooperation but also a symbol of the persistent friendship between the two countries, the president added.