April 28, 2020: Ethiopian Airlines MRO has reconfigured four B777-300ER to transport cargo. The news was confirmed by Ethiopian Cargo & Logistics Services MD Fitsum Abadi on April 9, during a webinar organised by Logistics Update Africa on ‘Delivering cargo in the times of continental contagion: From essential supplies to critical medicines. He stated, "We are following diversified business strategy by working on cargo as well as on the MRO side."

Meanwhile, Ethiopian Airlines has transported a third donation of medical equipment and supplies from the Jack Ma Foundation and Alibaba Foundation from Guangzhou, China to Addis Ababa for Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC).

The donation is to support Covid-19 response by African Union member states and it includes 4.6 million masks, 500,000 swabs and test kits, 300 ventilators, 200,000 sets of protective clothing, 200,000 face shields, 2,000 temperature guns, 100 body temperature scanners, and 500,000 pairs of gloves.

“The world cannot afford the unthinkable consequences of a Covid-19 pandemic in Africa. The crisis is proving to be more difficult and longer lasting than any of us had expected. We must make every effort to get prepared. As members of the global community, it would be irresponsible for us to sit on the fence, panic, ignore facts, or fail to act. We need to take action now,” said Jack Ma, founder, Jack Ma Foundation and Alibaba Group.

The medical equipment and supplies needed to fight Covid-19 are largely manufactured outside Africa, and every country, including countries with advanced technologies, needs them. This has made it more difficult for African countries to procure their medical supplies through the regular channels.

The Jack Ma Foundation is now taking its support to public health in Africa to the next level as it collaborates with Africa CDC to hold a special webinar entitled Global MediXChange for Combatting Covid-19 (GMCC): The Experience of China on April 28, 2020. The webinar will feature remarks and presentations by Jack Ma; Dr John Nkengasong; Dr Chen Wang, president, Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences; Dr Bin Cao, president, China-Japan Friendship Hospital; and Dr Raji Tajudeen, head of the division of Public Health Institutes and Research at Africa CDC.

This webinar will enable medical experts from Africa, China and other parts of the world to share knowledge, experience and best practices for treating COVID-19.

GMCC was launched last month by Jack Ma Foundation and Alibaba Foundation to facilitate open knowledge sharing and online communication to combat COVID-19. Supported by technologies and tools from Alibaba Health and Alibaba Cloud, GMCC features three main components: digital access to epidemic prevention resources, videos and webinars, and tools for online discussions. Nearly 3,000 medical professionals have already joined the platform globally and thousands of medical staff from hospitals across Ethiopia, Ghana, Rwanda, South Africa and Zimbabwe have participated in live exchange sessions organized by the GMCC to better understand how to respond to this new virus disease pandemic.

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