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UNAIDS praises China’s experience in community health workers programs

Updated: May 18,2017 5:41 PM     Xinhua

BEIJING — China’s valuable experience in community health worker programs has demonstrated that these workers can “provide an essential link between communities and health service,” said Michel Sidibe, UN Under Secretary General and Executive Director of UNAIDS, the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS.

The UN senior official gave such comments when being asked recently by Xinhua about the UN body’s “2 million community health workers” program in Africa.

“It is the hope of UNAIDS that China and other countries with robust experience in community health worker programs will play a key role in building the capacity of low-and-middle income countries to implement community health worker programs,” said Sidibe, adding “China has decades-long experience in leveraging diverse cadres of health workers to expend health care access.”

UNAIDS plans to recruit 2 million paid community health workers in Africa by 2020, hoping to enable Africa to withstand the coming demographic wave and to drive economic and social development.

Commenting on China’s “bare-foot doctors,” workers trained as a medical auxiliary in rural areas, the UN official said China’s own experience demonstrates that community health workers can complement doctors, nurses and other trained health professionals.

“Especially in rural areas where few trained health professional practice, China’s experience has demonstrated that community health workers can provide an essential link between communities and health services,” said Sidibe.

In an early interview with Xinhua in 2015, Sidibe also gave positive comments about China’s experience of community health workers, considering China’s practice “success stories” in global fight against HIV/AIDS.

“China can also be transferring their knowledge on ‘bare-foot doctors’ to Africa because what we need is to invest on millions of community workers to be able to reach communities with knowledge so they can stop emerging epidemic,” Sidibe said in the interview.

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