|Posted by RCG-SL on September 27, 2014 at 9:10 AM|
China CDC Team & Amb., H.E. Yanbo with Pres. Koroma
The Chinese Government has again come onboard fully in Sierra Leone to contain the spread of ebola by installing a temporal mobile lab and permanent lab structure.
The Government of the People’s Republic of China through its Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Friday 5th September presented proposals to President Dr Ernest Bai Koroma for the installation of one temporary mobile lab and a permanent lab structure to improve the diagnosis of Ebola and stop its transmission in Sierra Leone.
According to the Director of CDC-China, Wang Lu, the temporary mobile lab will be installed in ten days at the China-Sierra Leone Friendship Hospital at Jui to assist frontline health workers to further slow the transmission of the disease, and it would take three months to install the permanent lab for long term use.
“To stop transmission we have to collect blood samples from infected persons which is our main purpose of being in the country,” he said, and quickly added that the labs are all level three biosafety facilities.
The delegation was warmly welcomed by President Koroma, who took time to explain and illustrate the daunting challenges government is contending with in responding to cases or samples that needed to be tested.
“We also have great challenges in the numbers that we have sampled. We need to sample as many as we could so that we can stop person to person transmission.”
This, he said, will pave the way for the reduction and eventual elimination of the virus in the country.
The President expressed profound gratitude to the government and people of China for coming to the country’s aid as soon as the outbreak was reported in May this year. He related how government is developing the human and institutional capacity to deal with the outbreak, which he described as “very new to us”.
President Koroma assured the CDC-China delegation of government’s support to establish the labs and make them operational within the shortest possible time as that will reduce a lot of pressure on existing labs and also help to absorb the growing numbers being reported in the western and northern regions.
The President further explained that the labs would be useful even after the Ebola outbreak as they will help strengthen the capacity of the health sector, adding that the Ministry of Health and Sanitation will engage the CDC-China team through the Emergency Operations Centre (EOC), to ensure rapid implementation of the proposals.
President Koroma used the meeting as an opportunity to enquire about the availability of the new anti-Ebola drug, JK-O5, reportedly manufactured by China. The Chinese Ambassador Zhao Yanbo promised to review the President’s request through Sierra Leone’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation.
Presenting the delegation to President Koroma, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Dr Samura Kamara informed the President the CDC-China team led by the Director of Disease Control and Prevention, Mr. Wang Lu, is in the country to construct, install, and manage the labs at the China-Sierra Leone Friendship Hospital, which will be transformed into an Ebola treatment centre. He noted that broader sample testing will be done at the permanent lab after installation within 3 months.
The Chinese Ambassador to Sierra Leone, H.E. Zhao Yanbo said that the advance medical team arrived in Freetown on Tuesday and will be setting up a mobile lab within ten days with readily available materials to help contain the spread of the disease in the country.
“Time is life, that is why the CDC team leader Mr. Wang Lu led the team to the country to install the labs quickly,” the Ambassador said.