HEALTHY MOVE

More medics off to Africa to help lo­cals

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - FRONT PAGE - By WANG QINGYUN and LI XIAOKUN

China will con­tinue its long­stand­ing med­i­cal as­sis­tance to Africa, Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping said at a meet­ing with African rep­re­sen­ta­tives at the Min­is­te­rial Fo­rum of China-Africa Health De­vel­op­ment on Fri­day.

On March 30, Xi at­tended the open­ing of a hos­pi­tal in the Repub­lic of the Congo dur­ing his first tour abroad since be­com­ing pres­i­dent.

Much of the med­i­cal equip­ment used in the hos­pi­tal was pur­chased from Europe, with China cov­er­ing the costs. The hos­pi­tal is among 30 that Bei­jing had promised in 2006 to help build in Africa.

The friend­ship be­tween China and Africa “has a long his­tory and is for­ever young,” Xi said. “Trust and sin­cer­ity be­tween the two sides are more valu­able than gold. China and Africa have sim­i­lar his­toric ex­pe­ri­ences and de­vel­op­ment tasks and I be­lieve we also share bright prospects for de­vel­op­ment.”

China has been dis­patch­ing med­i­cal work­ers to Africa since 1963. Over the next three years, the na­tion will send a to­tal of 1,500 med­i­cal re­lief work­ers to Africa to pro­vide treat­ment to Africans, in­clud­ing free sur­gi­cal pro­ce­dures for cataract suf­fer­ers, said Vice-Pre­mier Liu Yan­dong, who also at­tended the fo­rum.

China is en­cour­ag­ing do­mes­tic med­i­cal com­pa­nies to co­op­er­ate with their African coun­ter­parts to pro­duce medicines and vac­cines for se­vere in­fec­tious dis­eases such as malaria and HIV/AIDS.

“China has the equip­ment and ex­pe­ri­ence to pro­duce such medicine and vac­cines and can sig­nif­i­cantly lower the price of medicine,” Liu said.

China will also help train 3,000 African doc­tors, nurses, pub­lic health work­ers and health­care man­agers through a plan to nur­ture African pro­fes­sion­als in the in­dus­try.

China is aim­ing to help African coun­tries meet their mil­len­nium de­vel­op­ment health­care goals, es­tab­lished by the United Na­tions with a tar­get date of 2015.

The goals range from low­er­ing poverty rates to slow­ing the spread of HIV/AIDS.

China also plans to dis­patch 500 ex­perts in gyne­col­ogy and chil­dren’s health­care through­out the con­ti­nent to help re­duce fa­tal­i­ties in mothers and ba­bies.

The na­tion will choose 10 Chi­nese hos­pi­tals to help 10 African coun­ter­parts im­prove med­i­cal ser­vices.

Ruhakana Ru­gunda, min­is­ter of health of Uganda, said China’s med­i­cal re­lief work is im­por­tant be­cause Chi­nese med­i­cal work­ers not only pro­vide treat­ment for pa­tients in his coun­try, but also train lo­cal med­i­cal work­ers.

Peggy Vi­dot, an of­fi­cial from the Min­istry of Health of the Sey­chelles, said she ap­pre­ci­ated China’s con­sis­tent med­i­cal re­lief.

“China is al­ways will­ing to share with Africa and we hope this col­lab­o­ra­tion will con­tinue,” she said.

“As we move for­ward, China has so much ex­per­tise in man­age­ment and preven­tion of non- com­mu­ni­ca­ble dis­eases, and I would like that the same amount of col­lab­o­ra­tion that China has given to Africa within the field of com­mu­ni­ca­ble dis­eases is ex­tended to non-com­mu­ni­ca­ble dis­eases as well.”

Rep­re­sen­ta­tives from China, 47 African coun­tries and eight in­ter­na­tional or­ga­ni­za­tions took part in the fo­rum, where the Bei­jing Dec­la­ra­tion of China- Africa Health Co­op­er­a­tion, which maps out a plan to fight dis­eases in­clud­ing malaria and HIV/ AIDS, was signed.

The plan will also ad­dress the short­age of med­i­cal work­ers in the con­ti­nent.

Con­tact the writ­ers at wangqingyun@chi­nadaily.com.cn and lix­i­aokun@chi­nadaily.com.cn

FENG YONGBIN / CHINA DAILY

World Health Or­ga­ni­za­tion chief Mar­garet Chan Fung Fu-chun talks with Babatunde Osotimehin, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of the UN Pop­u­la­tion Fund, dur­ing the Min­is­te­rial Fo­rum of China-Africa Health De­vel­op­ment at the Great Hall of the Peo­ple in Bei­jing on Fri­day.

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