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Officials, experts gather in Beijing for South-South maternal, newborn health cooperation

(Xinhua)    13:00, August 18, 2018

CHINA-AFRICA-HEALTH COOPERATION-MEETING (CN)

The 2018 High-Level Meeting on China-Africa Health Cooperation is held in Beijing, capital of China, Aug. 17, 2018. (Xinhua/Zhang Yuwei)

BEIJING, Aug. 17 -- Officials and experts from China, Africa, the African Union and other international organizations gathered in Beijing Friday at a session themed "China-Africa Cooperation in Maternal and Newborn Health."

The session, co-organized by China's National Health Commission (NHC), UNICEF and the African Union, was part of the High-Level Meeting on China-Africa Health Cooperation that opened Friday.

Approximately 7,000 newborns die every day from mostly preventable causes, according to the UN. A child in sub-Saharan Africa, which accounts for 38 percent of global neonatal deaths, is nine times more likely to die in the first month than a child in a high-income country.

China is one of few countries that has seen a rapid reduction of neonatal and under-five mortality rates in recent decades, benefiting from efforts such as promoting hospital deliveries and basic health insurance.

"We see China as an extremely important development actor for Africa, and we see great scope for aid and investment to be expanded together in the maternal, newborn and child health arena," said Shahida Azfar, UNICEF deputy executive director. "China-Africa South-South Cooperation is a win-win partnership."

The delegates discussed progress in maternal and child health in China and Africa, South-South pilot programs experiences, and transferability of China's experiences, and expressed their hope of making more of China's policies and interventions, including those in its underdeveloped areas, to benefit Africa under South-South Cooperation.

"South-South Cooperation -- the sharing of expertise and best practices across countries -- presents an immense opportunity for us to tackle the unacceptably high rates of maternal and newborn mortality in Africa, together as partners," Azfar said.

Song Li, deputy director general of the Department of Woman and Child Health Services of the NHC, said: "China is willing to continue to fulfill its international responsibilities to address the maternal and child health issue together with other countries."

The High-Level Meeting on China-Africa Health Cooperation, which will run until Saturday, is part of a series of activities ahead of the upcoming 2018 Beijing summit for the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation.

With nine thematic sessions held, it focuses on China-Africa cooperation in various aspects such as the health industry and medical-specialist training.

"African countries can learn from China's experiences of healthcare system building," said Ren Minghui, assistant director-general of the World Health Organization for communicable diseases at the opening of the meeting.


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