Leaders from China and Africa come together to strengthen partnership, cooperation and innovation

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Leaders from China and Africa come together to strengthen partnership, cooperation and innovation

07 May 2013

Chinese and African leaders during the first day of the 4th International Roundtable on China-Africa Health Cooperation. 6 May 2013

Leaders from China and Africa met in Gabarone, Botswana this week for the 4th International Roundtable on China-Africa Health Cooperation in order to strengthen collaboration in health development and share knowledge and technology. The two day roundtable from 6-7 May was the first to be held in Africa.

Participants committed to develop concrete action plans to address pressing health issues including HIV, malaria, reproductive health, human resources and access to vaccines and commodities. The forum provided an opportunity for open dialogue about lessons learned as well as exploring South-South cooperation initiatives to overcome challenges such as guaranteeing safe products, ensuring adequate capacity, increasing transparency and strengthening health systems. 

“China and Africa have a long history of collaborating on health, built on shared challenges and experiences addressing similar issues,” said Hon. Rev. Dr. John G. N. Seakgosing, Botswana Minister of Health.  “China has a unique role in supporting African health progress. And with this roundtable, we look forward to deepening our partnership to benefit the health of our citizens.”

The AIDS response and other experiences paved the way for transformative progress on health and can help China and Africa to engage on a whole new level and innovate on a broad range of health issues.

Dr Luiz Loures, UNAIDS Deputy Executive Director, Programme.

South-South cooperation, where mutually beneficial partnerships between developing and emerging economies are adding new thinking and new resources to global health and development was a keynote of the roundtable. Such cooperation, creating a ‘win-win’ scenario, is based on shared experience of similar challenges and priorities: both Africa and China view healthcare as critical to their economic success. 

“Africa’s future is closely linked with our own and improving health is a critical building block toward a common prosperity,” said Dr Ren Minghui, Director General of the Department of International Cooperation at China’s National Health and Family Planning Commission.African countries have made tremendous gains to improve the health of their citizens. With China and Africa working hand-in-hand on health, we can have even greater impact.” 

The forum examined ways in which China can share its advances in research and development, its commitment to producing high-quality, lower cost, safe health technologies and how it can forge new partnerships with African countries. In return China can learn from the continent’s best practices, including progress made in expanding AIDS treatment, responding to the epidemic in rural areas and stopping new HIV infections among children.

H.E. Dr Mustapha Sidiki Kaloko, Commissioner of Social Affairs of the African Union (left) and Dr Luiz Loures, UNAIDS Deputy Executive Director, Programme at 4th China-Africa Roundtable on Health, 7 May 2013

This exchange was analysed in detail during an HIV session, chaired by UNAIDS, which incorporated an update on the ground-breaking African Union roadmap on shared responsibility and global solidarity for AIDS, TB and malaria. Opportunities for strengthened China-Africa HIV partnership were explored, such as developing antiretroviral therapy drug manufacturing technology through joint ventures and technical support for local production.

“The global health landscape is changing with more partners than ever joining these efforts,” said Dr Luiz Loures, UNAIDS Deputy Executive Director, Programme. “The AIDS response and other experiences paved the way for transformative progress on health and can help China and Africa to engage on a whole new level and innovate on a broad range of health issues.”

In addition, the roundtable discussed pilot project proposals for collaboration in areas such as strengthening laboratory systems; training African health personnel and sharing China’s expertise in cold chain management and surveillance systems to boost immunizations.

It is hoped that the roundtable policy consultations will help to lay the groundwork for a long-term strategic collaboration plan around the upcoming Health Ministerial Meeting of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation in August. 

The 4th China-Africa Roundtable on Health Cooperation was hosted by the Botswana Ministry of Health, Peking University’s Institute for Global Health and China’s Chamber of Commerce and Ministry of Commerce. Joining African and Chinese Minsters of Health, Commerce and Foreign Affairs and their representatives were leaders of the African Union, the United Nations, international organizations, NGOs and major companies.