By Mohamed Jalloh
Â The People`s Liberation Army of China(PLA) has donated 40,000 doses of Covid -19 Vaccine along with 41,000 syringes to the Republic of Sierra Leone Armed Forces(RSLAF) to provide assistance in the fight against the Corona Virus pandemic.
A formal handing over of the vaccines and syringes was done by the Chinese ambassador to Sierra Leone Hu Zhanliang in the presence of the Minister of Defence, Rtd Brig Kellie Conteh and the Chief of Defence Staff Lt Gen Sullay Sesay.
The team leaders of the Chinese Military Medical Expert Group were also present at the handing over ceremony alongside Generals, Officers and Soldiers of RSLAF including the joint force commander Maj Gen Peter Lavahun.
Ambassador Zhanliang said even though the Covid-19 vaccine is in great demand, but the delivery of the vaccine from China to Sierra Leone demonstrates the profound traditional relationship between the two countries and armies.
The Ambassador noted the gesture as a fulfilment of the concrete actions of the Chinese side in honouring H E Xi Jinping`sÂ solemn pledge of making the Covid-19 vaccine a global public good and to contribute to the realisation of the affordability and availability of Covid -19 vaccines in developing countries.
Ambassador Zhianliang expressed deep appreciation to the Minister of Defence and his team in cooperating closely with the Chinese side for the successful delivery of the donation.
â€œI believe this donation came at the right time and will go a long way in combating the pandemicâ€ The Ambassador stated.
Hu Zhianglang extolled the friendly relationship between the two countries and maintained that the Chinese government would continue to provide the much needed rounds of medical supplies to RSLAF to help in the prevention and control of the pandemic.
The Ambassador showered praises on the Sierra Leonean government for the display of moral and political support when China was in a difficult situation during the peak of the Covid-19 outbreak in Wuhan province, as according to him the cooperation explicitly explains the meaning of the friendship between the two countries.
He commended the people and government of Sierra Leone for the display of tenacity and perseverance in order to achieve notable results in the fight against Covid-19.
The Ambassador Applauded the RSLAF for their indispensable role in NACOVERC as frontline soldiers, irrespective of confronting the risk of contracting the Virus.
â€œThe safety and efficacy of the vaccine has been scientifically proven and I am convinced that the vaccine would be taken good care of and put into good use by the RSLAFâ€.Hu Zhanliang assured.
He continued that China does not pursue any geopolitical goals in its international cooperation on the Covid-19 vaccine, neither does she calculate any economic benefit nor attaches any political conditionsÂ in the cooperation between the two countries.
According to the Zhianliang, China wishes to make Covid-19 vaccine truly people`s vaccine and contribute to the building of a global community of health for all.
He informed the gathering of this year`s 100 anniversary of the founding of the communist party of China and went further in reminding of the 60th Independence anniversary of Sierra Leone as well as the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relationship between the two countries.
Ambassador concluded by wishing the Sierra Leonean government, people and armed forces an early complete victory in combating the pandemic and greater success in achieving national development.
Â After receiving the vaccines and syringes, Rtd Brig Kellie Conteh, the Minister of defence expressed appreciation to China and the Chinese Ambassador to Sierra Leone Hu Zhanliang for such a crucial humanitarian gesture in the form of Covid-19 vaccines.
The Minister of Defence said there is no better period to receive the vaccine than now when the government is scaling up access to inoculate large portion of its citizens.
Rtd Brig Conteh stated that the government has the plan and intention to immunise the whole population and further expressed hope that the Chinese government could provide more vaccines in the near future.
He noted that without the philanthropic gesture of countries such as China, poor nations such as Sierra Leone could have find it very difficult to immunise her citizens from the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Minister of Defence went further to thank China for the construction of Covid-19 testing laboratory which proved to be extremely vital in the fight against the pandemic.
â€œWhen the Country recorded her first case of Covid-19, China was the first to donate personal protective equipments such as face masks, gloves and protective gowns to NACOVERC to aid in the fight against Covid-19â€ The Minister said.
Â According to the Minister of defence, China has always come to the rescue of Sierra Leone even when the country was hard hit by the Ebola virus Pandemic in 2014.
He concluded by urging the Chinese through her ambassador to continue supporting the government and people of Sierra Leone in their development strides in order to deeply cement the friendly and cordial relationship between the two countries.