Interview: China's engagement with Africa boosts fight against AIDS, says WHO official
NAIROBI, Nov. 29 (Xinhua) -- The bilateral relationship between China and Africa in the health sector has boosted the fight against HIV and Aids pandemic in Africa, a senior official from World Health Organization (WHO) said on Friday.
Frank Lule, medical officer, HIV/AIDS treatment at WHO Regional Office for Africa said during an interview with Xinhua in Nairobi that material and technical support from China has boosted response to the viral disease in the world's second-largest continent.
"China has been very strong in our region's infrastructure development. It has built hospitals and health facilities that are actually providing HIV services," said Lule.
He spoke on the sidelines of the launch of a WHO's social media-driven HIV and Aids campaign targeting one million African youth ahead of World Aids Day to be observed on Dec.1.
Lule said that the partnership with China in areas of capacity development, technology and skills transfer, has injected fresh impetus in the continent's quest to achieve Aids free status set out in the UN 2030 goals.
He said that Sino-Africa cooperation in trade, infrastructure development and education has enabled African countries to address some of the key drivers of HIV and Aids infections that include poverty and mass youth unemployment.
China's support towards the anti-Aids war in Africa has moved beyond the capacity building.
"China has provided human resources and staff that is very instrumental in supporting HIV services in our facilities," said Lule, the clinician who revealed he has in the past worked alongside Chinese medical teams.
Lule said that Chinese medical teams deployed in Africa that includes physicians, surgeons and obstetricians, have been proactive in treating HIV and Aids opportunistic infections like Tuberculosis.
Lule said that sharing of knowledge and expertise between Chinese and African medical personnel has boosted the fight against Aids and viral hepatitis.
"Africa has made significant progress in the war against Aids. We have seen 60 percent of people living with HIV access anti-retroviral drugs and 80 percent of people living with the virus are aware of their status," said Lule.
He said that cultural myths, poverty, ignorance, gender-based violence and ill-equipped health facilities are some of the barriers that have hampered progress towards eradicating HIV and Aids in Africa.