The Chinese Government and private sector have been shipping protective gear and medical equipment all over the world, to assist with the global fight against Coronavirus. In Africa, Jack Ma and the Alibaba Foundation have taken center stage in supplying medical masks, Covid-19 tests and other protective kit to countries with fragile health systems. Just a few days after the gear arrived in Ethiopia for redistribution in the continent, all lusophone countries were stocked up.
Last week, representatives of the Mozambican government and the United Nations congregated at Maputo International Airport for the arrival of approximately 100,000 masks, 20,000 covid-19 test kits, as well as 1 million protective suits and other material to help fight the coronavirus, according to UN News. The UN is to participate in the distribution of this equipment in the country, through the World Food Program, WFP, the World Health Organization, WHO, and its partners.
Angola received a shipment containing 20,000 laboratory diagnostic tests, 100,000 medical masks, 1,000 protective clothing and shields. In total, the Jack Ma and Alibaba Foundation is to distribute 1.1 million test kits and six million masks across the continent.
Most African countries have weak health systems that are already burdened with diseases such as cholera, malaria and ebola. According to the latest data by the Africa Center for Disease Control on COVID-19 in Africa, there are now more than over 5,250 confirmed cases of coronavirus across the continent, with a number of African countries imposing a range of prevention and containment measures against the spread of the pandemic.
The national director for health of Cabo Verde, Artur Correia, said that on 27 March 100,000 masks, 20,000 rapid tests and 1,000 protective suits and 1,000 facemasks had arrived in the country, according to MacauHub.
Via social media, the Cape Verdean prime minister, Ulisses Correia e Silva, thanked, “Mr. Jack Ma and his foundation for this great gesture,” at a time when the country has six positive cases of coronavirus.
Also on 27 March, the Guinea-Bissau authorities announced they had received the materials donated by Jack Ma’s foundation – 20,000 test kits, 100,000 masks, 1,000 sets of protective clothing and 1,100 protective shields.
The aid to São Tomé and Príncipe arrived in the last few days on an aircraft hired by the African Union, which was authorised to land at the airport in the capital on 25 March.
An official statement said that the aircraft was carrying, “health kits, gloves, masks, tests, among other things, as a gift from the Ali-Baba Foundation, as part of the support by this institution to African countries.”
Another flight by DHL was planned for the same day carrying “various materials to prevent and combat Covid-19, as part of cooperation with the World Health Organisation,” the statement said.
Jack Ma pledged to send 1.1 million tests, 6 million protective masks and 60,000 scrub coats and visors, which arrived in Ethiopia, Rwanda and other countries last week.
Abiy Ahmed, the president of Ethiopia, which hosts the African Union, will be responsible for distributing the materials to other African countries.
The Chinese ambassador to São Tomé and Príncipe, Wang Wei, on delivering the equipment to Ayres de Menezes Central Hospital, noted the contribution from Chinese civil society, in this case from billionaire Jack Ma.
The humanitarian aid delivered by the Chinese ambassador to the central hospital included medication, including antibiotics, protective equipment, ventilators and defibrillators.
“We will continue to increase support to Africa, including São Tomé and Príncipe to fight this disease,” Wang Wei said, according to MacauHub.