Chinese PresidentXi Jinping meets with delegates attending the Ministerial Forum of the China-Africa Health Development in Beijing, capital of China, Aug. 16, 2013. (Xinhua/Ding Lin)
BEIJING, Aug. 16 (Xinhua) -- Chinese President Xi Jinping said on Friday that China will continue to promote cooperation with African countries on health and development.
China will continue to send medical teams and cataract surgeons to Africa and will deepen cooperation and health personnel training in maternal and child health care, Xi said when meeting with African representatives for a health forum on Friday.
Representatives from African countries and international organizations gathered in Beijing for the Ministerial Forum on China-Africa Health Development.
"Human development is at the core of development. We hope this forum will substantially push forward health cooperation between China and Africa," Xi said.
For the past five decades, China has sent medical teams totaling 18,000 people to Africa and relieved 250 million people from pain and disease, according to Xi.
Xi thanked relevant international organizations for their support of China and African health development and their contribution to global health equality. China will continue to support international organizations and actively engage in international health governance, Xi said.
Recalling the lasting friendship between China and Africa, Xi said the relationship has weathered the test of a changing international landscape and gained sincerity and trust.
China-Africa relations have entered a fast track for development since the establishment of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation, accompanied by increased mutual trust, pragmatic cooperation and closer coordination in international affairs, he said.
Representing Africa, Comoros Vice President Fouad Mohadji thanked the Chinese government's long-term support of health and poverty eradication initiatives on the continent, saying the forum helps strengthen mutually beneficial relations between Africa and China.
Representatives from China and 48 African countries as well as eight international organizations attended Friday's forum, including Margaret Chan, director-general of World Health Organization, UNAIDS Executive Director Michel Sidibe, and the UN Population Fund Executive Director Babatunde Osotimehin.
Chinese Vice Premier Liu Yandong delivered a keynote speech at the opening ceremony of the forum and told the audience that China plans to send 1,500 medical personnel to Africa in the next three years to perform free cataract operations for patients there.
Since 2010, China has sent medical experts to treat cataract patients in Yemen, Botswana, Algeria and other developing countries. So far, 1,000 free cataract operations have been performed.
Liu said the Chinese government will also support medical cooperation with their African partners to expand accessibility to medicine.
It has been 50 years since China dispatched its first medical aid mission to developing countries to help with disease treatment and prevention, and introduce advanced medical sciences and clinical techniques.
China has sent 23,000 medical workers to 66 countries and regions, treating about 270 million people in Asia, Africa, Latin America and Oceania.
Since 1963, 23,000 medical workers have been sent to 66 countries and regions, providing services for 270 million people. At present, 1,171 Chinese medical workers are in 113 medical centers in 49 countries and regions, 42 of which are in Africa, according to official figures.