China and Africa have come together to find new ways of improving access to health care. More than 30 Ministers of Health from across Africa joined the Vice-Premier of China Liu Yandong, and the Chinese Minister of National Health and Family Planning Commission Li Bin at the China-Africa Ministerial Conference on Health Cooperation. The event was held in Pretoria, South Africa on April 24 under the theme China-Africa Health Cooperation, From Commitments to Actions.
The Vice Premier of China talked about the long standing partnership between China and Africa in the field of health care and of China’s commitment to help build the health sector in developing countries and boost efforts for a broader future for China-Africa cooperation in health.
In his address, the UNAIDS Executive Director, Michel Sidibé, outlined three critical initiatives that need to be put in place. He said that, together with the African Union, partners should create a workforce of 2 million community health workers for Africa, learning from the Barefoot Doctors of China organization, which trains people on basic medicine to work in rural areas of China. Trilateral cooperation between China, Africa and UNAIDS should focus on disease surveillance for accelerating action to achieve Sustainable Development Goals 3. He added that UNAIDS will continue to support the scale-up of the local production of medicines and health commodities.
Following his speech, participants signed a five-point plan for China–Africa cooperation on health which focuses on improving access to health-care services through Chinese medical teams working in Africa and by strengthening public health preparedness and capacity-building, particularly through the African Centre for Disease Control. The plan also includes a special focus on key populations, women and young people and urges an increase in training opportunities for African and Chinese people. Increasing China–Africa cooperation, specifically around accelerated action for technology and local production, is also part of the plan.
During meetings with the Chinese Minister of Health, and the Uganda Minister of Health, Jane Aceng, Mr Sidibé emphasized how the China–Africa partnership can go beyond AIDS, to create sustainable solutions for social and economic development in Africa.
“Through the China–Africa partnership, we want to develop a community of shared cooperation, based on common goals of prosperity, peace, dignity and good health. We support joint efforts to fulfil the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) agenda, especially SDG 3.”
“China–Africa cooperation is a win–win opportunity to accelerate the transformation of the African continent to benefit millions of people.”
“Africa, in partnership with China, must develop partnerships that propel us towards sustainable progress and development. Africa must decide on how to finance our own development using our own resources, including producing medicines for HIV, tuberculosis and malaria.”