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China to send 1,500 medical aid workers to Africa

Shan Juan and Feng Hui
Updated: Oct 8,2015 7:08 AM     China Daily

China has renewed its pledge of medical assistance to Africa and is to send 1,500 medical workers to the continent.

In particular, the country vowed to help the continent in capacity building, the search for talent, and infrastructure development.

The promise was delivered at the 2nd Ministerial Forum of China-Africa Health Development, which ended on Oct 6 in the South African city of Cape Town.

Chinese and African health officials adopted the Cape Town Declaration, which aims to save lives and improve public well-being through strengthened access to quality essential health commodities, medicines, vaccines and medical devices and services.

The primary focus includes diseases such as Ebola, HIV/AIDS, TB and malaria, and noncommunicable diseases.

Li Bin, minister of China’s National Health and Family Planning Commission, told the forum that in the post-Ebola era, “China is willing to provide assistance and support in the establishment of disease control and prevention systems at regional and national level”.

This would reinforce the surveillance, monitoring and response capacity of African countries to public health emergencies, Li said.

“It is of great importance to set up a well-working public health system in Africa, particularly in response to emerging infectious diseases,” she said.

Matshidiso Rebecca Moeti, regional director of the World Health Organization’s Africa Region, told Xinhua News Agency that China has been “a great partner” in Africa’s development, particularly on health.

This assistance started in the 1960s and to date China has sent more than 20,000 medical workers to 40-plus countries in Africa, according to the commission.

Li said that in the next three years China would send 1,500 medical workers to Africa.

The commission would also support 20 Chinese tertiary hospitals to work with their counterparts in Africa.

China pledged to encourage 10 large Chinese pharmaceutical and medical equipment enterprises to cooperate with African counterparts.

They will do so through measures such as technology transfers in the production, maintenance and distribution of quality pharmaceutical products and medical equipment in African countries.

Li said the Chinese government would further push the innovation of traditional Chinese medicine.

She said China and African nations had been cooperating on an anti-malarial project in the Comoros, the third-smallest African nation by area.

In the past eight years, this project has reduced the death toll from malaria to zero, and China and Africa will cooperate more on anti-malarial and technological projects.