China, Africa write new chapter of mutual assistance while combating COVID-19

By He Zhaohua
China, attaching high importance to the development of the COVID-19 pandemic in Africa, has taken an active part in the cooperation with the continent to fight the virus by conducting teleconferences, dispatching medical teams and offering material assistance. It has provided the maximum support and help for African countries within its capability.
China’s practices echo Chinese President Xi Jinping’s proposal to build a closer community with a shared future between China and Africa, setting an example for the world to build itself into a community with a shared future.
African countries and regional organizations showed powerful and valuable support to China when the latter went all out to fight COVID-19. In return, China, which always repays goodwill with greater kindness, is also lending a helping hand to Africa for cooperation on pandemic control when African countries are currently seeing an increasingly severe situation.
Since the onset of the novel coronavirus disease, China has established a team for medical guidance to exchange control experiences with foreign countries through teleconferences at the request of the latter.
China held the first teleconference on COVID-19 with African countries on March 18, which was attended by nearly 300 people, including officials and health experts from 24 African countries and the African Union (AU), as well as WHO representatives in some countries.
In an open, transparent and responsible manner, China shared epidemic control experiences with Africa and deepened international cooperation, in an attempt to jointly enhance the capability in coping with the outbreak.
Chinese provinces including Hubei and Sichuan also paired up with Algeria and Mozambique and conducted teleconferences to exchange and share experiences.
As of April 12, China had offered anti-pandemic assistance for 139 countries and four international organizations in five batches, including 53 African nations. China’s assistance has effectively alleviated the material shortage for recipients.
China’s Tianjin municipality and Sichuan province on April 16 dispatched medical experts to Burkina Faso and Ethiopia at the request of the two countries’ governments. The two medical teams established by China’s National Health Commission (NHC) marked the first batch of Chinese medical teams dispatched to Africa for COVID-19 relief.
At present, China is organizing medical teams to assist Algeria, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Zimbabwe to fight the pandemic. Such a move will largely boost the confidence of Africa to defeat the virus, inject new energy into the solidarity of the international society, and write a new chapter of China-Africa mutual assistance.
This year marks the 57th anniversary of China’s medical assistance to Africa since the country dispatched its first medical team to Algeria in 1963. In the past half a century, China has sent a total of 22,000 medical workers to 48 African countries in 993 batches, offering medical services for 220 million people there. Currently, China has 100 medical stations in 45 African countries providing free services for local communities.
Over the past 57 years, Chinese medical staff aiding Africa have won high appraise from both the governments and people on the continent for their skills and morality. Many of the Chinese medical workers consider Africa as their second hometown, and some even made medical aid to Africa a family tradition, with their second and even third generation contributing medical expertise to the continent.
Faced with the exacerbating situation and extreme shortage of medical supplies, Chinese medical experts have done a great job to help Africa with science-based approach while ensuring their own safety.
The medical team assisting Equatorial Guinea translated treatment plans into Spanish and offered training for local medical workers; the teams in Cameroon, Senegal, and Lesotho helped local hospitals and health authorities make containment measures; Chinese medical workers in Zimbabwe lent a hand to a local hospital to upgrade the ICU; and those aiding Tunisia made cash donation to the hospital they work at.
By April 22, Chinese medical teams aiding Africa had conducted 350 training sessions for 12,690 people and issued 1,203 pieces of guidance and handbooks. Many team members applied to offer assistance to Africa and signed letters of commitment. The medical teams also donated part of their supplies through Chinese Embassies to relieve the pressure of the recipients.
They practiced the spirit of bravery, dedication, benevolence and boundless love with concrete actions, and demonstrated the noble humanitarian spirit, as well as the their sincerity and responsibility in the fight against the pandemic.
China upholds the vision of building a community with a shared future for mankind, actively reinforces international cooperation, and shares control and treatment experiences with African countries in all honesty to jointly cope with the crisis. While maintaining strict epidemic control at home, it is always doing its best to provide support for African countries and jointly safeguard regional and global health security.
(He Zhaohua is the Deputy Director of the International Cooperation Department, National Health Commission.)
Source: People’s Daily

Zheng Jinbiao, a member of the Chinese medical team assisting Equatorial Guinea checks eye sight of a local patient, March 21. Photo courtesy of the Chinese medical team assisting Equatorial Guinea

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