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12.09.2013 Health

China Partners Africa To Advance Health In Africa

By Daily Guide
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The Declaration was done in Beijing, China recently, during the first ever meeting of health ministers of Africa and China, under the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) since it was established in 2000.

The Declaration signifies the highest level of China's political commitment to shape the future of China-Africa. The cooperation seeks to set a roadmap for jointly addressing key health challenges across Africa, including malaria, schistosomiasis, HIV/AIDs, reproductive health, immunization and vaccine preventable diseases.

Under the Declaration, China and African countries would embark on new efforts to achieve sustainable, long-term health solutions, such as increasing partnerships on joint research and addressing the shortage of healthcare workers.

They would also engage further with private enterprise to encourage technology transfer and increase access to low-cost health technologies that meet high quality standards. The declaration in all its forms would align with African countries' priorities as well as national and regional development plans.

The Minister of Health for Senegal, Awa Coll-Seck noted that the declaration which entrenches the partnership between African and the Chinese government which lasted for half a century would ensure '…commitments to developing and implementing Africa-led strategies that drive sustainable health progress and improve the lives of people across the continent.'

Over the 50 years of China-Africa Partnership in health, thousands of medical personnel have served in 43 African countries. Over the period, the partnership has led to the building of hospitals and malaria centres, training of health workers and increase in access to anti-malarial treatments and other health technologies. Academic institutions and private companies have also supported these efforts.

Dr Li Bin, Minister of China's National Health and Family Planning Commission noted that China is only building on the progress between them and Africa over the period since'…China's partnership with Africa is rooted in humanitarianism. As President Xi described, 'this love has no borders.'

China and African countries would also work closely with key global health stakeholders to support China-Africa health cooperation, including multilateral organizations, international NGOs and civil society organizations. Representatives of these organisations at the forum include, the World Health Organization (WHO), UNAIDS, UNFPA, UNICEF, African Union, World Bank, GAVI Alliance and Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.

The Director-General of WHO, Dr Margaret Chan noted that 'The decades of collaboration between China and Africa has long been characterized by friendship and goodwill… more so, China is now a significant force in Africa's development, with substantially increased commitments and engagements. This is a south-to-south model of development cooperation based on mutual interests and respect.'

The forum of health ministers of Africa and China which gave birth to Beijing Declaration is under the auspices FOCAC, and is hosted by the National Health and Family Planning Commission of China, formerly the Ministry of Health.

 BY Fred Duodu

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