Commentary: China-Africa solidarity against COVID-19 to strengthen ties
At a time when COVID-19 is raging around the world, China and Africa have supported each other in the face of the pandemic. The solidarity will serve to strengthen China-Africa ties.
"Indeed, COVID-19 pandemic has only amplified medical cooperation between China and Africa," said Cavince Adhere, a Kenyan international relations researcher, ahead of China's Medical Workers' Day and World Humanitarian Day 2020, holding both on Aug. 19.
"China has made significant epidemic control strides to flatten the curve of community transmissions of COVID-19. Because of the proven dexterity of the Chinese system to manage the pandemic, it is no surprise that African countries look to China to help the continent," said Adhere.
When the novel coronavirus arrived in Africa, fear and panic gripped the continent, however, increasing dialogues, exchanges and policy coordination between African and Chinese medical experts gave the continent a huge head start in controlling the pandemic, according to Adhere.
A friend in need is a friend indeed. Amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, China sent a total of 148 medical workers to 11 African countries as of June 2, according to Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Zhao Lijian.
Furthermore, 46 Chinese medical teams already stationed on site are also mobilized to help African nations contain the pandemic, and nearly 1,000 Chinese medical personnel have been working in Africa for a long time, according to China's National Health Commission.
Since March, massive medical supplies donated by the Chinese government, companies and individuals have also been distributed to about 50 African countries and regions. The timely donations, including face masks, disposable protective clothing, forehead thermometers as well as other equipment, have helped alleviate the continent's shortage of medical supplies in the face of the epidemic.
African officials, experts and ordinary people spoke highly of the life-saving medical equipment donations and experience-sharing supports from China. Mikias Legesse, a medical doctor fighting the COVID-19 pandemic on the frontline in Ethiopia, is one of them.
Legesse, who is presently working as COVID-19 Isolation Ward Coordinator at the Tirunesh-Beijing Hospital -- also known as the Ethio-China Friendship Hospital, located in Akaki neighborhood on the outskirts of Ethiopia's capital Addis Ababa, has been actively fighting the COVID-19 pandemic alongside members of the 21st batch of the Chinese medical team in Ethiopia, constituting 16 medical professionals who have specialized in various fields.
"We are lucky because we are the only hospital in Ethiopia that has the Chinese medical team at the moment," said Legesse, adding that "the team members that came from Sichuan shared their experience in detail and we were amazed in their level of action because they controlled the virus very well. We take their experience and translated it into our setup."
During the epidemic, Chinese medical experts traveled back and forth across the African continent, held hundreds of video communication meetings with their African counterparts, and helped African countries to fight with novel coronavirus, which contributed to Africa's better-than-expected anti-epidemic results.
According to the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC), the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases across Africa rose to 1,128,245 as of Tuesday, while the death toll climbed to 25,884, with a relatively low mortality rate of 2.3 percent.
Besides the medical teams working in different African countries, China also sent experts to Africa CDC. The specialists played a critical role in shaping the continent's response to the disease.
The past months have also witnessed the pairing between leading Chinese hospitals and their African counterparts.
Karim Kabineh, chief of the China-Sierra Leone Friendship Hospital, expressed his gratitude to Chinese doctors' contribution to the country's battle against the virus, saying "together with Chinese doctors in the frontline, we firmly believe we will win this fight."
The anti-epidemic collaboration has not only reinforced the longstanding partnership between China and Africa in the medical field, according to Adhere, but also provided a strong springboard to further broaden and cement Sino-Africa ties. Enditem