Chinese and African leaders met late last week in Beijing to discuss how best the communist state can help the ‘dark continent’ deal with its unending health challenges that have been besieging it since gaining independence from European colonial masters.
Analysts believe the continent has the most appalling healthcare system in the world, with a constant lack of drugs, deteriorating hospital infrastructure, understaffed healthcare centres, underpaid and less qualified staff, brain drain, among others.
This sad state of affairs also forces Africa’s political and business elite and their families to seek medical care in the developed world whenever the need arises.
But China, which is drawing most of the natural resources to feed its voracious economy in Africa, feels that it has a ‘moral debt’ to help African countries heal its sick.
Therefore; health ministers and officials from both parties launched the Beijing Declaration of the Ministerial Forum on China-Africa Health Development, which sets a roadmap for jointly addressing key health challenges across Africa, including malaria, schistosomiasis, HIV/AIDS, reproductive health, immunisation and vaccine preventable diseases.
The Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) was established in 2000, but this is the first-ever meeting of health ministers held under the umbrella.
Under the Declaration, China and African countries will embark on ‘new efforts’ to achieve sustainable, long-term health solutions, such as increasing partnerships on joint research and addressing the shortage of healthcare workers, the statement said.
“China and African countries will engage further with private enterprise to encourage technology transfer and increase access to low-cost health technologies that meet high quality standards,” the statement added.