On November 19, the last Ebola patient in Guinea recovered and was released from hospital. Although the World Health Organization has not yet declared a complete end to the epidemic, it envisions triumphing in its long-standing battle against Ebola in the near future.
It all started in 2013, when the first Ebola case was confirmed in Guinea. The virus spread straight from the remote southwest to the capital of the country in merely three months, with a high fatality rate.
China, as a keen friend of Africa, took the initiative to launch the largest public health assistance operation in history.
Since the outbreak of the epidemic, China has provided emergency humanitarian assistance totaling 750 million yuan ($110 million) to African countries, including Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea. Of all countries China gave one of the largest cumulative amounts of medical aid. In addition, it has sent more than 1,000 medical workers and trained 13,000 local medical workers in nine African countries.
In the campaign to help Africa combat Ebola, China has also experienced a number of "first times" - it was the country’s first time to send an organic medical unit overseas, the first time to establish a mobile and biological laboratory overseas, the first time to establish an infectious disease medical center overseas and so on.
Sierra Leone's Minister of Health and Sanitation Dr. Abubakar Fofana stated that China was the first country in the world to respond to the appeal of the Sierra Leonean government for help, and human and material assistance from China has not stopped since then.
Relatively backward medical conditions and health systems has always been the soft spot of not only Sierra Leone but of all of Africa in the face of major infectious diseases.
Liberia’s President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf stated that China took the lead in arousing the attention and assistance of the international community, and played an important role in the final victory against the epidemic.
Although it will be more than a month before the final announcement of a complete end to Ebola in West Africa, the Chinese government made it clear earlier this month that it will continue to provide a series of new assistance to the three West African countries to support post-epidemic reconstruction and to strengthen their public health systems.
Liberia’s Foreign Affair Minister Augustine Kpehe Ngafuan said that although the Ebola epidemic has taken a toll in Africa, it has also made people realize who the real friend is. “A friend is someone who comes to you and helps you when you are ill in bed. And China is exactly such a friend.”
Tarik Jašarević, a WHO spokesman who visited the hardest hit areas of Ebola in West Africa four times, said that China has played an important role in controlling the Ebola epidemic by its timely assistance, and extended gratitude on WHO’s behalf.