The Group of African Ambassadors Spouses (GAAS), in the People’s Republic of China, on Tuesday, 15th March, 2016, made a symbolic presentation of a cheque of 150,000 RMB (US$22,000) to Sierra Leone, through her Embassy in Beijing, as its support to the country’s Ebola victims.
Making the presentation to embassies of the three hardest hit Manor River Union (MRU) nations at the Ghanaian Embassy in Beijing, Madam Huseina Demuyakor, spouse of the Ghanaian Ambassador and Vice President of GAAS, said they had gone out of their mandate to raise funds in 2015 as a way of supporting victims of the dreadful disease in the affected nations.
As Africans, she said there is the need to help combat challenges brought by the virus explaining that the money would be transmitted to the various countries through accounts provided by the various embassies in Beijing, requesting for an official written note of acknowledgment from the countries when the donation shall have been transmitted.
Sierra Leone’s Deputy Ambassador to China, Madam Kumba Momoh, thanked the group for standing by her country, assuring that the donation would reach the intended beneficiaries.
Madam Momoh paid a gleaming tribute to the Economic Community of West African States in particular and generally, the African Union for their invention in ending ebola. She also thanked the People?s Republic of China and other development partners for standing by Sierra Leone.
“When we were struck, the Chinese and other development partners came in to help,” she noted, stressing that GAAS’intervention by way of donation could not have come at a better time as Sierra Leone is now faced with the challenge of taking care of orphans and other post Ebola challenges.
The Ebola outbreak in the three MRU Sub regional countries started in Guinea where the first case was discovered on 18th March, 2014 after which health officials announced the outbreak of a mysterious hemorrhagic fever, later identified as Ebola Virus Disease. By May of the same year, it had spread to Sierra Leone through Kailahun East of the country.
On 7th November, 2015, the World Health Organization declared the end of the outbreak in Sierra Leone. Since its first case on 24th May, 2014, over 8000 people were infected and over 3000 died.
International response, which was initially said to be slow, saw the intervention of world organizations like the UN, WHO and continental organizations like the AU. The Chinese played a lead role in tackling the virus, by sending in medical personnel, equipment and making cash donations to Sierra Leone, running into millions of Yuan.
The country has since been working on addressing the post Ebola challenges. “We have already started the implementation of the programme priorities for health, education, social protection, energy, water and economic recovery”, Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma, the country’s president, said in a statement marking the end of the Ebola outbreak in the country in November last year.
John Baimba Sesay
Sierra Leone Embassy-CHINA