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China, Zimbabwe poised to enhance health cooperation

Updated: Jul 25,2016 8:48 AM     Xinhua

China and Zimbabwe on July 22 initialed two agreements on urology cooperation and enhanced maternal and child care in Zimbabwe, further boosting cooperation between the two countries on health delivery.

China will provide technical assistance and equipment to help Zimbabwe establish a cutting-edge urological centre at the country’s biggest referral medical institute Parirenyatwa Hospital, while carrying on programs to reduce Zimbabwe’s high maternal mortality rate which now stands at 651 per 100,000, a rate the authorities aim to lower to 326 per 100,000 in 2020.

Currently, 31 percent of deaths occurring among women aged between 20 and 24 are maternal, and the project is thus strategic to the improvement of maternal health delivery.

China’s Deputy Director of National Health and Family Planning Commission Liu Qian and Zimbabwe’s Deputy Minister of Health and Child Care Aldrin Musiiwa initiated the agreements, which are the follow-ups to President Xi Jinping’s visit to Zimbabwe last December.

Musiiwa thanked the Chinese government for its continued support of health programs in Zimbabwe, adding that the technical expertise to be imparted by Chinese medical personnel to locals would go a long way in improving the capacity of health delivery in the country.

Nine Chinese specialist doctors and one logistics person are working in the country and doing “very commendable” work, Masiiwa said.

“The work they are doing is so valued that Zimbabwe is requesting for more specialists from China,” he said.

He also noted that Zimbabwe was benefitting from a $100 million Zimbabwe-China Medical Equipment Loan Facility granted through the China Eximbank in 2011 and so far equipment worth $77 million had been delivered and was being installed in 90 hospitals and clinics across the country.

“We hope the remaining 18 percent is going to be expedited,” he added.

Musiiwa also lauded the Chinese government for building the 130-bed Mahusekwa Hospital -- otherwise known as the China Zimbabwe Friendship Hospital - in rural Marondera district under the Forum for China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) to help improve health provision in rural areas where 70 percent of the population lives.

The construction and supply of equipment at the hospital took two years, and the $6 million hospital was commissioned in 2013.

It was part of the 30 hospitals China pledged to build, along with 30 malaria control centers across Africa at the first FOCAC summit in 2006.

Musiiwa added that Zimbabwe had also tendered proposals under FOCAC for the construction of two central hospitals in Harare and the second biggest city of Bulawayo, and three other provincial hospitals.

Health has become a significant part of cooperation between China and Zimbabwe with 137 physicians having been sent to Zimbabwe so far, and the relationship between China and Zimbabwe is seen as a good model of relations between China and Africa as a whole.