The Chinese government has announced that it will build 100 hospitals and clinics across the African continent with a plan o improve health systems and be prepared for future disease outbreaks.
The announcement was made during the briefing of the media after the 2nd Ministerial Forum of China-Africa Health Development which came to an end on Tuesday by Mr Motosoaledi Aaron and Mr Lin Bin, both who are health ministers of South Africa and China respectively.
Minister Motsoaledi said the forum, which is a partnership between the Chinese government and several African countries, was a major boost to the African continent and would help strengthen the continent’s public health systems post the Ebola era.
“Learning from the EVD [Ebola Virus Disease] crisis, Chinese and African leaders in the health sectors fully support a new, well-funded, and functional international response system to manage future pandemics,” he said.
The China-Africa Forum, which is organized by the Chinese government, is guided by African countries’ programmes of action, the World Health Organization action strategies, the African Union (AU) Agenda 2063 and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.
The forum’s main focus, the Minister said, was on saving lives and improving the wellbeing of people in a developing continent where millions of people are awaiting treatment.
The forum committed to forging partnerships that would ensure access to high quality health care systems, medicines and vaccines, as well as medical devices, diagnostics and regulation of drugs.
This would help governments tackle non-communicable diseases, preventable communicable and emerging diseases such as HIV and Aids, Ebola, Tuberculosis and Malaria.
After the Ebola outbreak – that claimed thousands of lives in West Africa – China was amongst the first countries to dispatch emergency support to the affected countries.
Minister Lin Bin said over the next three years, the Chinese government and several African countries formulated and adopted a framework of implementation.
She said all parties were committed to strengthen their cooperation in public health through the construction of resilient health systems – one being the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention at AU level, regional and country levels.
China would offer support in human resources development by providing scholarships and training to health professionals in Africa, and said that African countries had agreed to have Chinese medical experts to be sent to their countries to work with their doctors.
China and Africa would also collaborate on laboratory research, as well as information sharing on major diseases.
“China is committed to establish 100 health facilities, including hospitals and clinics in developing countries.
“China is willing to provide assistance and support in the establishment of the disease control and prevention systems at regional and country level to reinforce the surveillance, monitoring and response capacity of African countries to public health emergencies.
“The Chinese [government] will continue to send China Medical Teams working in African countries, and recruit 1500 medical personnel in the next three years,” she said.
She also said that new measures will be taken to organize short-term medical teams – comprising of clinical specialists – to 40 African countries.
“To improve access to medical products in Africa, both sides recognize that the availability of basic pharmaceutical products and medical equipment is essential to medical service accessibility.
“The Chinese [government] will encourage 10 large Chinese pharmaceutical and medical equipment enterprises to cooperate with African counterparts, through measures such as technology transfer, in the production, maintenance and distribution of quality pharmaceutical products and medical equipment to African countries,” she said