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Chinese-built Infectious Disease Prevention Center opens in Sierra Leone

By Abu Bakarr Kargbo (People's Daily Online)    09:25, August 31, 2018

Dr. Xu Zhe, Team Leader

The Infectious Disease Prevention Center, built in Sierra Leone’s 34 Military Barracks with support from the Chinese government, opened to the public on August 22, 2018.

In July this year, the facility was commissioned by both Sierra Leone’s President Julius Maada Bio and the Chinese Ambassador to Sierra Leone, Wu Peng, during an event held at the Wilberforce military barracks, which was attended by local and foreign dignitaries.

Dr. Xu Zhe, Team Leader of the Chinese People Liberation Army (PLA) Medical Team, explained that the facility was equipped with ultra-modern medical equipment to prevent and fight infectious diseases. He added that the center quickly became the best for treatment in emergency disease outbreaks, such as Ebola and Lassa Fever.

Dr. Xu said the facility can also diagnose HIV and AIDS, malaria, typhoid, lung infections, TB and Hepatitis A, B & C, noting that malaria and TB tests are free and that they also give patients certain drugs free of charge. He noted that the money generated from the services they provide goes back into the running of the facility, which is 100 percent owned by Sierra Leone, adding that they were only there to manage it on behalf of the country and to make sure that it remains in good condition.

The Chinese Medical Team at the Disease Prevention Center

He said they have generators big enough to run the center in the event of a power shortage, and that they also have a water treatment center to make sure that water used in the facility cannot contaminate surrounding areas.

“We are here to help Sierra Leoneans because China and Sierra Leone are great friends,” Dr. Xu said.

In term of hospital management, Dr. Xu explained that the center is divided into outpatient and in-patient areas with 30 available beds for those who arrive for treatment.

He revealed that there are currently four doctors alongside 20 Chinese and Sierra Leonean nurses and military medical staff who work at the hospital on a daily basis, with the capacity to treat 60-100 patients per day. The facility also has a teleconference center, where doctors can consult with Chinese medical experts regarding complex cases.

Chinese Medics with their Sierra Leonean counterparts

Dr. Xu explained that Sierra Leone has frequent disease outbreaks which are difficult to deal with. However, the establishment of such a facility means that diseases such as cholera can be dealt with in an effective and timely manner.

Ramking J Smith, at the bedside of his wife, who was recently admitted to the hospital, said the treatment they were receiving at the hospital was excellent and that his wife was the first patient to get treatment at the facility.

“The doctors and the nurses are doing well compared to other hospitals in the country, including private hospitals,” Smith said confidently, adding that he hopes his wife recovers soon. 

Dr. Xu Zhe and a colleague take a look at an X-ray result

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: Hongyu, Bianji)

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