Chinese and African leaders will come together today at the 4th International Roundtable on China-Africa Health Cooperation to explore new partnerships aimed at addressing health challenges in Africa, and strengthening innovative health programmes.
Officials will engage in two days of sessions aimed at determining how China and African countries can jointly tackle critical issues such as AIDS, malaria, schistosomiasis, reproductive health, access to lifesaving vaccines and non-communicable diseases.
These health issues disproportionately affect African countries and have also been major health challenges for China. At the roundtable, China’s Director General of the National Health and Family Planning Commission will join Health Ministers from Botswana and Ghana; leaders from the African Union; representatives from the United Nations and non-governmental organizations; and entrepreneurs and business owners from China and Africa.
“Indeed, China and Africa have a long history of collaborating on health, built on shared challenges, experiences and addressing similar issues,” said Hon. Rev. Dr. John G. N. Seakgosing, Botswana’s Minister of Health.
This roundtable comes as China and Africa mark the 50th anniversary of providing medical teams to Africa, with China also supporting African health personnel, infrastructure, malaria control and other programs such as scholarships for training health experts.
At this year’s roundtable, officials will discuss how to shape health cooperation between China and Africa and help achieve long-term, sustainable gains, such as strengthening health systems and addressing the shortage of healthcare workers.
“Africa’s future is closely linked with our own and improving health is a critical building block towards a common prosperity,” said Dr. Ren Minghui, Director General of the Department of International Cooperation at China’s National Health and Family Planning Commission.
Participants will also explore how China can help support Africa’s local production of health products. At the same time, African leaders will share expertise on areas where China can learn from Africa, such as around AIDS prevention and treatment, to help improve China’s efforts at home. Africa has been very successful in scaling up HIV treatment as well as prevention of mother-to-child transmission programs.
The roundtable sessions will be guided by discussion papers that draw on extensive research and discussion developed by the China-Africa Health Cooperation Taskforce, comprised of members of the Chinese government and leading technical institutions, with the support of international partners including the World Health Organization, United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), UNAIDS, PATH, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Global Health Strategies Initiatives (GHSi) and other organizations.
This year’s roundtable is hosted by the Botswana Ministry of Health, the China Chamber of Commerce of the Ministry of Commerce and the Institute for Global Health of Peking University.
The roundtable series, organized by the Institute for Global Health and the China Institute of International Studies, began in 2009 as part of a China-led initiative to evaluate and improve its foreign assistance.