Sierra Leone bat­tles Ebola with help of Chi­nese work­ers

China Daily (USA) - - CHINA - By SHAN JUAN shan­juan@chi­

China-trained Thomas Samba from Sierra Leone serves as a se­nior re­gional di­rec­tor of the coun­try’s Na­tional Pub­lic Health Agency.

He said Chi­nese health work­ers have now be­come his col­leagues.

Sup­ported by the Chi­nese gov­ern­ment, in 1995 he at­tended Shang­hai Jiao Tong Univer­sity School of Medicine, ma­jor­ing in gen­eral prac­tice, and stud­ied in the city for more than five years.

Ac­cord­ing to him, pub­lic health spe­cial­ists from China stayed in Sierra Leone af­ter the 2014 Ebola out­break to help the na­tion— whose cit­i­zens have a life ex­pectancy of 50— to build ca­pac­ity in out­break re­sponse.

“We are strug­gling to re­cover from the Ebola epi­demic, which killed nearly 4,000 in the coun­try, and China’s as­sis­tance in pub­lic health is highly ap­pre­ci­ated,” he said.

It’s im­por­tant for the coun­try of 7 mil­lion peo­ple to mas­ter how to han­dle emerg­ing out­breaks, as in­fec­tious dis­eases like malaria re­main ma­jor disease killers, he added.

With China’s help, the coun­tryis able tomon­i­torand record the preva­lence of var­i­ous dis­eases, par­tic­u­larly con­ta­gious ones, and the num­ber of deaths caused by them.

Also, the coun­try has be­gun of­fer­ing pub­lic health ed­u­ca­tion at the only higher ed­u­ca­tion in­sti­tute of medicine.

“Two or three planned,” he said.

“We don’t know if or when Ebola will come back,” he said. The coun­try is car­ry­ing out a post-Ebola re­cov­ery pro­gram and con­tin­u­ous care for Ebola sur­vivors is a cru­cial part.

“Their sit­u­a­tion is mis­er­able, as many lose the abil­ity to work af­ter re­cov­er­ing from the virus,” he added.

Com­mon com­pli­ca­tions in­clude a slow pro­cess­ing speed, aches, wors­en­ing eye­sight and lower li­bido, which were re­ported by at least 2,000 sur­vivors.

Due to lim­ited knowl­edge of Ebola, “we have no treat­ment or cure tar­get­ing the virus it­self, only sup­port­ive mea­sures. That in­volves a lot of un­cer­tain­ties”, he said.

To as­sure them of bet­ter care, the gov­ern­ment of­fers free health­care ser­vices to all Ebola sur­vivors. Oth­ers en­ti­tled to free ser­vices are preg­nant and breast-feed­ing women, and chil­dren un­der 5 years old.

Samba said there is a vac­cine against Ebola which showed great prom­ise, but it re­mains very ex­pen­sive.

“We are talk­ing with global or­ga­ni­za­tions like the WHO about the pos­si­bil­i­ties to use the vac­cines in our coun­try,” he said. more are

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