Kenya: Africa Focus - Kenya Hails China's Assistance in Health Sector

Nairobi — Kenya's Minister for Medical Services, Professor Peter Anyang' Nyong'o on Thursday hailed China's contribution to the country's health sector, which he said the country has immensely benefitted from.

In a speech during the opening of a one-day meeting on China- Africa Trade and Cooperation on Pharmaceuticals and Medical devices in Nairobi, Nyong'o said China has helped Kenya in many ways, particularly in the health sector through the construction of health facilities.

"China's cooperation with Kenya is based on mutual benefit and understanding," he said, praising Beijing for the assistance the east Asian country has offered Nairobi and appealed to the Chinese people not to tire in extending support to their Kenyan counterparts.

The workshop, which was convened under the auspices of the East Africa Community and China Chamber of Commerce for Import and Export of Medicines and Health Products (CCCMHPIE), is to facilitate exchange of information on the potentials for expanded cooperation between China and EAC countries related to manufacture, technology exchange and trade in pharmaceuticals and medical devices.

The meeting brought together more than 20 enterprises in China.

The CCCMHPIE Vice-President Meng Dongping said China has already built strategic partnership and opened dialogue with many African countries.

He pointed out that along with the trade and cultural exchange, the healthcare cooperation between China and Africa has shown great potential with the trade volume maintaining an annual growth rate of 40 percent on average.

"In the past decade the healthcare trade between China and Africa increased by 10 times, up from 190 million U.S. dollars in 2001 to 1.84 billion dollars in 2011, which makes Africa an important trading partner to China," Meng said.

The leader of the Chinese delegation described Kenya as the sixth largest in terms of bilateral trade and the top one destination for Chinese medicines in east Africa.

Pointing out that China is now a super pharmaceutical country with an annual growth of 20 percent, Meng said that in 2011 the total trade volume of Chinese healthcare industry reached 73.28 billion U.S. dollars, adding China is now widely recognized as the market with the best comprehensive advantages and greatest potential for the future development.

"With years of development, the structure of Chinese pharmaceutical industry has been optimized, while the manufacturing standard and production capacity keep improving," Meng said.

Meng said that in China, there are a number of excellent enterprises with various products in good quality, ranging from traditional API to preparations and biomedicines, from traditional Chinese medicines to herbal extracts and health food, and from medical dressings to diagnostic devices.

"New products and technologies have won the Chinese medicines a warm welcome in the global market, and as the world's third largest pharmaceutical market, we will gain more advantage in global labor," he said.

He said that in the past few years, trade between China and east Africa has maintained an annual growth of 20 percent amounting to 145 million dollars whereby in 2011 the bilateral trade between China and Kenya reached 78.87 million dollars, up by 21.5 percent year on year, making Kenya the largest market for China in east Africa.

Describing China and east African countries as developing nations, having gone through similar historic period and are confronted with similar challenges in the social and economic development, Meng called for the strengthening of cooperation and the sharing of experiences gained in the process of industry development between the two regions.

Chinese Ambassador to Kenya Liu Guangyuan said medical healthcare has been one of the priority areas in China's assistances to African countries with the aim of helping to improve local medical conditions and people's health.

The Ambassador said that by the end of 2011, China had sent medical teams to 46 African countries with a total number of about 20,000 medical workers, who have treated as many as 200 million patients, saved lives from danger and filed the medical gap in the aided African countries.

"Since the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation Beijing Summit in 2006, China has built 30 hospitals and 30 malaria prevention and treatment centers in Africa as promised by the Chinese President Hu Jintao, and provided large amounts of medical equipment and materials in light of the need of African countries," Liu said.

The Ambassador said east Africa has been one of the most important regions for China's medical and health cooperation with Africa and added many Kenyans have benefited from anti-malaria medicines courtesy of China's donation.

Liu said the coming of more and more Chinese pharmaceutical companies and high-quality pharmaceuticals and medical devices to east African countries will definitely bring mutual benefits for both sides.

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