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Africa CDC hails China’s support, cooperation with continent in combating COVID-19

Members of the Chinese anti-pandemic medical expert team that arrived last Thursday in Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa, held an experience sharing session on Monday, April 20, 2020 with officials and experts of the Africa Center for Disease Prevention and Control (Africa CDC).

Dr. John Nkengasong
Africa CDC Director, Dr. John Nkengasong

The continental specialised health agency of the African Union (AU) has commended China for its continued support and cooperation with Africa in combating COVID-19.

At the half-day session held on the AU headquarters, both sides have expressed commitment to further strengthening joint efforts and cooperation in the battle against the pandemic.

Members of the Chinese medical experts have made presentation on “Challenges and Countermeasures in the Fight against COVID-19 in China,” with examples and also responded to various questions from the Africa CDC side.

Reiterating commitment to support Africans, Zeng Zhiyong, a member of the Chinese medical experts’ team and a chief physician specialised on infection-control department at West China Hospital Sichuan University, underlined the need to strengthen cooperation and exchanges for joint efforts to curb the pandemic.

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In his opening remarks, John Nkengasong, Africa CDC Director, said the Chinese CDC has been making valuable contribution to his center in dealing with COVID-19.

The director has expressed Africa’s CDC’s keen interest to continue the relationship forged with its Chinese counterpart.

As COVID-19 cases continue to surge across Ethiopia and beyond the African continent, the Chinese anti-pandemic medical experts’ team was dispatched by the Chinese government upon the request of the Ethiopian government.

“This is really a very good experience exchange. They have very, very rich experiences in using telemedicine, triage, dealing with issues of non-COVID-19 cases and patients, and most importantly getting involved the community in the fight against the epidemic in China,” said Nkengasong.

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“And the very, very important thing is that they have the community participating at different layers of the CDC in China; there is a CDC at a central level, the provincial level and the local level,” he said.

According to Nkengasong, access to diagnostic test and commodities that are accessories and facilities required in the overall battle against COVID-19 are among the big challenges in Africa.

Jack Ma, founder of the Chinese e-commerce giant, has already made move to deliver the third batch of medical supplies to Africa to combat coronavirus on the continent.

The donation includes half a million test kits and more than four million swabs and masks among others.

Stating that the donation would arrive on Saturday, Nkengasong said that the contribution of Jack Ma Foundation has been “extremely timely and impactful” for the fight against COVID-19 on the continent.

“We have received two shipments and distributed; and the third one is coming which was coordinated by Africa CDC provided technical input as to on what to receive and I understand it is going to be here on Saturday; and Africa CDC looks forward to distributing to member states,” he said.

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Nkengasong noted that the support from Jack Ma would also contribute significantly to the Africa CDC’s initiative dubbed “Partnership to Accelerate COVID-19 Testing”.

In addition to the deployment of Chinese medical expert at AU Africa CDC, and also the experience-sharing with the recently arrived experts, Nkengasong said there was also an online platform whereby China CDC and Africa CDC and other public health institutions on the continent come together regularly to share experiences.

“We really want this kind of experience sharing to continue,” he said. 

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