China to send 1,500 experts to the continent
China will continue its longstanding medical assistance to Africa, President Xi Jinping said at a meeting with African representatives at the Ministerial Forum of China-Africa Health Development on Friday.
On March 30, Xi attended the opening of a hospital in the Republic of the Congo during his first tour abroad since becoming president.
World Health Organization chief Margaret Chan Fung Fu-chun talks with Babatunde Osotimehin, executive director of the UN Population Fund, during the Ministerial Forum of China-Africa Health Development at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on Friday. [FENG YONGBIN / CHINA DAILY]
Much of the medical equipment used in the hospital was purchased from Europe, with China covering the costs. The hospital is among 30 that Beijing had promised in 2006 to help build in Africa.
The friendship between China and Africa "has a long history and is forever young," Xi said. "Trust and sincerity between the two sides are more valuable than gold. China and Africa have similar historic experiences and development tasks and I believe we also share bright prospects for development."
China has been dispatching medical workers to Africa since 1963. Over the next three years, the nation will send a total of 1,500 medical relief workers to Africa to provide treatment to Africans, including free surgical procedures for cataract sufferers, said Vice-Premier Liu Yandong, who also attended the forum.
China is encouraging domestic medical companies to cooperate with their African counterparts to produce medicines and vaccines for severe infectious diseases such as malaria and HIV/AIDS.
"China has the equipment and experience to produce such medicine and vaccines and can significantly lower the price of medicine," Liu said.
China will also help train 3,000 African doctors, nurses, public health workers and healthcare managers through a plan to nurture African professionals in the industry.
China is aiming to help African countries meet their millennium development healthcare goals, established by the United Nations with a target date of 2015.
The goals range from lowering poverty rates to slowing the spread of HIV/AIDS.
China also plans to dispatch 500 experts in gynecology and children's healthcare throughout the continent to help reduce fatalities in mothers and babies.
The nation will choose 10 Chinese hospitals to help 10 African counterparts improve medical services.
Ruhakana Rugunda, minister of health of Uganda, said China's medical relief work is important because Chinese medical workers not only provide treatment for patients in his country, but also train local medical workers.
Peggy Vidot, an official from the Ministry of Health of the Seychelles, said she appreciated China's consistent medical relief.
"China is always willing to share with Africa and we hope this collaboration will continue," she said.
"As we move forward, China has so much expertise in management and prevention of non-communicable diseases, and I would like that the same amount of collaboration that China has given to Africa within the field of communicable diseases is extended to non-communicable diseases as well."
Representatives from China, 47 African countries and eight international organizations took part in the forum, where the Beijing Declaration of China-Africa Health Cooperation, which maps out a plan to fight diseases including malaria and HIV/AIDS, was signed.
The plan will also address the shortage of medical workers in the continent.
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