MALABO, July 21 (Xinhua) -- China has been a leading international partner in supporting Africa to fight against Ebola, and now is lending a helping hand in assisting the recovery and reconstruction of Ebola-affected countries, said a UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UN-OCHA) official.
"China has been one of leading international partners not only for the affected countries, but for the African Union since the beginning of the outbreak. China made several donations in kind, and in cash, for medical supplies," said Jeanine Cooper, UN-OCHA representative to the African Union (AU).
"The Chinese also made one of the first international medical donations to the African Union when they deployed medical workers," she told Xinhua Sunday in an interview ahead of the AU-hosted International Conference on Africa's fight against Ebola in Malabo.
First reported in March 2014, the Ebola outbreak in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia was the largest ever recorded, and has claimed over 11,200 lives by far.
Cooper, who had visited those worst-hit countries in West Africa, said she was impressed by the Chinese medical staff and their expertise.
The UN official said one of problems with treating Ebola patients was the personal protective equipment. Due to the high and intensive heat in West Africa, most of health workers could only keep in the protective gear for 45 minutes to one hour, and after that, it would become unbearable as the health workers were sweating too much.
"When the Chinese built their Ebola Treatment Unit in Liberia, they air-conditioned it, so that the health workers were able to work for longer periods of time and give better care to the patients," said Cooper.
"It is not only a medical technique, but innovation. A lot of people want to work and be treated there," she said, adding that the epidemiological lab China deployed in Sierra Leone also prompted the test for Ebola response in the country.
China has sent over 1,000 medical staff to the affected countries, treated more than 900 patients, and trained some 13,000 medical workers for Sierra Leone, Liberia, Guinea and their neighboring countries since the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, official data have showed.
China has also provided four batches of assistance to 13 countries in and around the affected areas with a total amount of 120 million U.S. dollars, making it the largest medical assistance since the founding of the country.
Earlier this month, China pledged 5 million U.S. dollars to the UN Ebola Response Multi-Partner Trust Fund to support the recovery of Ebola-affected countries.
"It is a strong sign of partnership." Cooper noted that the recovery is a multidimensional task that includes rebuilding of the fragile health system, food system as well as socioeconomic aspect.
"China has the capacity on emergency care and disease surveillance, and can offer lessons to those affected countries," said the official, adding that the partnership with China and the rest of international community can bring affected countries on the road of recovery.
"We have learned to work together much better; the countries of the Mano River Union have also learned to support each other much more. The spirit of solidarity is very strong. We are well on the road of recovery, and I am optimistic for the future," she said.