New plan for health cooperation in works

Updated: Sep 5, 2018 China Daily Print
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Fighting infectious diseases, including AIDS, will remain a priority in health cooperation between China and African countries, a senior health official said.

A new plan for China-Africa health cooperation was under discussion during the Beijing Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation on Sept 3 and Sept 4. A key part of the plan is to help African countries improve public health through better control and prevention of infectious diseases such as AIDS, malaria and schistosomiasis or snail fever, said Feng Yong, deputy director of the International Cooperation Department of the National Health Commission.

China will continue its decadeslong assistance to African nations-such as training medical staff and improving medical facilities-to help them fight infectious diseases, he said.

As a major part of the cooperation, the African Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, with assistance from China, is expected to significantly improve African nations’ ability to fight infectious diseases after it is put into service, Feng said.

Gao Fu, director of the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, said detailed plans for the Africa CDC will be released soon, and experts from China CDC are working with health experts in Africa to prepare for its opening.

Following the 2014 Ebola outbreaks in West Africa, which caused more than 11,000 deaths, Africa and countries including China proposed the center as a way to strengthen African nations’ ability to fight major infectious diseases and improve public health.

Chinese medical teams are now present in most countries in Africa, providing services including diagnosis and treatment of AIDS patients, Feng said. To help African countries fight AIDS, China has also trained a number of African medical personnel, Feng added.

In the past 55 years, China has sent 21,000 medical experts to 48 African countries to provide medical assistance, according to the commission.

Last year, 53 medical assistance teams with 1,042 health workers were dispatched by the Chinese government to provide medical services to 52 foreign countries. A total of 996 health workers were sent to 43 countries in Africa.

In the past decade, China has expanded health cooperation with Africa, and more projects aiming to improve medical and public health capabilities have been carried out, including personnel training and promoting localized production of drugs in Africa, the commission said.

The commission also proposes more measures to encourage nongovernmental organizations in China to play a bigger role in China-Africa health cooperation.

Related government departments should first of all improve information transparency so NGOs, charitable organizations and enterprises have ways to learn about Africa’s needs. Related policies should be released to guide and regulate operation of NGOs so they are under government supervision when carrying out cooperation programs in Africa, the commission said.

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