China-Africa co-operation on health strengthened when health ministers from South Africa, China and other African countries adopted a declaration on Tuesday at the conclusion of the second Ministerial Forum of China-Africa Health Development held in Cape Town this week.
“One of the offers made by China was to build 100 hospitals and clinics on the continent. This was welcomed by African health ministers because many of our countries have poor facilities,” said Yogan Pillay, a deputy director general at the national health department.
“Other areas discussed were access to good quality medication at lower prices and collaboration of human resources. Some of the points raised were possible bursaries for health workers, training of health professionals in China and China sending some staff to Africa,” he said.
In the declaration, the ministers pledge to “support a new, well-funded and functional international response system to manage future pandemics” such as the Ebola outbreak that hit West Africa last year. The document reaffirms the outcome of the first such forum of health ministers, held in Beijing in 2013, to formally include health development in the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation.
Earlier this year, health leaders from Africa and China published a set of Beijing policy recommendations outlining that intercontinental co-operation can “be strengthened to drive sustainable impact”.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), China has been playing a “growing role as a worldwide supplier of vaccines” and recently made a $5-million commitment to Gavi, a global vaccine alliance.
“The Ebola outbreak provided context for conversations on health systems and building African health capacity. China provided $120-million in Ebola aid and deployed nearly 1 000 medical workers to affected areas,” the WHO said in an earlier press release on China-Africa collaboration.