Monrovia – The Government of the People’s Republic of China has turned over a huge consignment of assorted medical supplies and equipment to the Government of Liberia as part of its humanitarian assistance valued at US$5 Million. The equipment and medical supplies include 20 ambulances, 20 pickup trucks, 10 incinerators, 100 motorcycles, 150 hospital beds, 4,000 sets of healthcare products, 60,000 personal protective equipment (PPEs) 20,000 bottles of hand washing disinfectants, 215 sets of assorted medical instruments such as 645 sprayers, 215 infrared thermometers, among others.
Also included in the consignment are 10 giant fork lifters for use at Liberia’s ports of entry – Freeport of Monrovia and the Roberts International Airport. This is the fourth batch of humanitarian assistance from the Government of the People’s Republic of China to the Government of Liberia. According to an Executive Mansion release, the turnover ceremony took place at the Samuel Kanyon Doe Sports Complex where Acting Foreign Minister, Mr. Elias Shoniyin and Chinese Ambassador to Liberia, H.E. Mr. Zhang Yue signed the turnover certificates on behalf of the two countries. President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf witnessed the signing ceremony.
Speaking at the ceremony, Chinese Ambassador, H.E. Mr. Zhang Yue said his country’s humanitarian assistance were not only a manifestation of solidarity from the Chinese people, but also firm confidence of winning the battle against the Ebola virus disease by the Liberian people under the leadership of President Sirleaf. Highlighting a principle of the Chinese people, Ambassador Yue said a man should go all out to help others who need help. He said, though his country itself experienced a severe earthquake in Yunnan Province and several other national disasters in 2014, his country spared no effort to reach out a helping hand to Liberia and the region.
“Up to now, China has contributed more than US$120 million to the worst affected Ebola countries, of which nearly US$52 million in materials and cash went to Liberia,” the Chinese Ambassador highlighted; adding further that China has sent nine special planes, transported more than 200 tons of materials and 400 medical personnel to Liberia. China is the only country to build and operate an Ebola Treatment Unit in the country.
Citing a famous Chinese saying, “a people united can move mountains,” Ambassador Yue praised Liberia’s efforts in combating the Ebola virus disease, pointing out the country as the worst case in the region but now the best. He said while the international community has played an important role, the Liberian Government and people, who shouldered the heaviest burden and cost, should get the biggest applauds.
The Chinese Ambassador cautioned that while Liberia is winning the war against the disease, the danger is still there and constant vigilance and efforts are still needed to ensure what the country has achieved will be sustained. “Today, we are glad to see that people here not only know how to prevent Ebola, but also have a very professional team of workforce to contain and control the spread of Ebola,” he stressed.
He said being free of Ebola is not the end of the journey as China is prepared to work with Liberia and other countries during its post-Ebola Recovery era. He said his country plans more personnel training, collaborative research and experience research with countries in the region on public health and disease prevention and control. “China is determined to share its experiences and skills to help Liberia restore and improve its public health and disease prevention system so as to prevent similar massive epidemic outbreaks in the future,” the Chinese Ambassador promised.
Responding, the Liberian leader praised China for always being there for Liberia and today’s turnover was a “big surprise”. President Sirleaf applauded China for being one of the first countries to come to Liberia’s aid in a very significant way during the height of the Ebola epidemic last year. Again, in the latter part of the year, China came, built and managed an Ebola Treatment Unit. “There’s no doubt that in this war against Ebola, China has been one of Liberia’s best friends,” she stressed.
Highlighting the significance to the timing and value of the consignment turned over, the Liberian leader said as she is about to leave for Washington D.C. to discuss the post-Ebola recovery plan for Liberia and the region, the consignment of assorted medical supplies and equipment could not have come at a better time, especially from China.
“When I go to Washington, D.C. after having received this, I can go to Washington and say we have started our reconstruction because China, our best friend, was right there this morning to send me off with all the things that I need to start the recovery program,” the Liberian leader emphasized, wondering, “How else can you not thank a friend like that.”
She said that she will carry the message that China has been with Liberia from the onset of the first phase of the Ebola crisis and China is with the country as it begins the second phase, it post-Ebola recovery phase. President Sirleaf again reiterated that Liberia’s economy is based on the private sector as the engine of growth. She said while it’s good for a country to receive bilateral support and multilateral financing, what will revamp Liberia’s economy is the private sector.
“Today, I want to say, Mr. Ambassador, we welcome you coming and working with us on the private sector in any way possible - whether contractors, investors, trade missions,” she said, adding, “We would now want to sit with you to see how we can strengthen the partnership and relationship in the private sector with not only Chinese companies but also Liberian companies since we want to promote Liberianization and want to see Liberians work with others to create that middle class to enable us achieve our development goals and meet that long term goal of that middle income country by the year 2030.