China-Africa health cooperation was the focus of a two-day high level meeting that started on Aug 17 in Beijing. The National Health Commission of China said it hopes to build a public health prevention and control system, and increase health and medicine cooperation throughout Africa.
Since the 2015 Johannesburg Summit, a comprehensive Chinese medical team in Africa has received over two million outpatient visits, and helped more than 52,000 critically ill patients. They have also donated equipment and medicine while improving Africa's health infrastructure..
Cui Li, vice minister of National Health Commission of China, pointed out more work remains, but the new transformation of health cooperation between the two sides has been developing in recent years. She added that through technical cooperation and various projects, China and Africa continue to blaze new trails in health cooperation. And the technical projects including the construction of disease control and prevention centers, human resources development, and implementation of local production of medicine will improve the coverage of Africa's health system.
Moreover, groups like the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations (UN) have thrown support behind the ever-transforming efforts. Case in point: Maternal and child health cooperation. China's solutions for expanding expanding high quality health coverage for mothers and children have been implemented by seven African countries including Ethiopia and Ghana.
But challenges remain. In Africa, health cooperation faces problems like poverty and infectious diseases such as Ebola, plus complicated political and security situations also exist in some regions. So Ren Minghui, the assistant director-general of WHO said deepening solutions are necessary and the demand for China-Africa cooperation needs upgrading now.
Ren explained that because Africa doesn’t have an advanced public health system, there is no guarantee that the achievements made will hold. An Ebola outbreak will set health indicators in a country back about 10 years. Now China-Africa health cooperation should strengthen the African public health system based on the local conditions, as well as carry out action strategies in the key areas like research and information network construction, to provide a professional platform for African healthcare talents.
As one of 10 major plans from the 2015 Johannesburg Summit, China-Africa health cooperation continues growing and gaining support. Over 300 participants from African countries and international organizations attended the initial meeting, which also provided an important platform for collective dialogue ahead of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation this September.