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Chinese premier urges more aid to Ebola fight
Chinese Premier Li Keqiang on Tuesday called for more humanitarian aid to the Ebola fight as China continued its strong commitment to and engagement in preventing the spread of the deadly virus in West Africa.
The international community must strengthen coordination and cooperation to jointly combat the disease, Li said in a phone call with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon.
The Ebola epidemic in West Africa, he noted, has jeopardized the health and lives of the people in the affected countries, severely hindered those nations' economic development and social stability, and posed a pressing threat to global public health.
The top priority now is to provide more supplies, funds and medical workers for Ebola-stricken zones, guide the public to look at and deal with the epidemic in the right way, and consolidate the confidence in winning the battle, Li added.
Since Ebola's outbreak in West Africa in February, China has delivered humanitarian aid swiftly, offering multiple batches of emergency assistance and dispatching nearly 200 experts and workers to the affected areas to help with prevention and control efforts.
In August, China delivered by air a patch of humanitarian aid worth 30 million RMB (about 5 million U.S dollars) to Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea, though many airlines suspended flight service to those countries.
A month later, the Chinese government announced another batch of cash, food and material aid to Ebola-hit African countries and donated 2 million U.S. dollars in cash aid to the World Health Organization (WHO) and the African Union.
In the Ebola-hit countries, Chinese medical experts and workers not only provide medical and technical support, but also organize lectures on personal protection, disinfection and biosecurity.
China's mobile laboratory in Sierra Leone has tested more than 500 Ebola samples in the country with 100 percent accuracy. Local health authorities said the data played an important role in assisting the government of Sierra Leone in handling confirmed cases.
WHO Director General Margaret Chan expressed her appreciation of China's help with the Ebola fight in West Africa, hailing Chinese medical teams' dedication to providing medical treatment to patients infected with Ebola or other diseases after medical helpers from some other countries withdrew from West Africa.
China's aid has effectively shored up the fight against Ebola in the affected areas and boosted the confidence of the people there in tackling the epidemic, said the UN secretary general, noting that the UN is ready to keep close communication and cooperation with China on this issue.
China now is actively planning the next round of assistance, including boosting public-health aid, with the aim to help African countries improve their epidemic prevention and control ability, said the Chinese premier.
But in the long run, the premier added, development aid should be stepped up for those countries to improve their competence in public health so as to prevent similar massive epidemic outbreaks.
[Source: Xinhua, Beijing, 22Oct14]
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