by Christine Lagat
NAIROBI, April 21 (Xinhua) -- China has helped African countries re-energize the war against malaria through biomedical research, training of health workers and provision of cheaper drugs, officials said on Friday during a China-Africa Symposium on eliminating the tropical disease.
The symposium was organized by Kenya's ministry of health in conjunction with China State Administration of Traditional Chinese Medicine and Guangzhou University of Chinese Medicine.
In his opening remarks at the symposium, Kenya's Cabinet Secretary for Health Cleopa Mailu hailed China's contribution toward the fight against malaria that is a leading cause of children and pregnant mothers in Africa.
"We applaud the Chinese scientists who discovered the ingredients for the Artemisinin Combination Therapy (ACTs) which came at an opportune time when malaria treatment was proving to be a challenge globally," Mailu said.
He noted that China's sophisticated alternative medicine industry has inspired African countries to develop their own and enhance response to killer tropical diseases.
The China-Africa Malaria symposium was attended by senior policy makers and health experts from the continent.
Also in attendance were Chinese Ambassador to Kenya Liu Xianfa, Vice Director of National Health and Family Planning Commission of China Wang Guoqiang and Director of Traditional Chinese Medicine Bureau of Guangdong Province of China, Xu Qingfeng.
Kenya's Cabinet Secretary for health said that robust Sino-Africa collaboration is critical to boost malaria prevention and case management.
For his part, Chinese Ambassador to Kenya Liu Xianfa said Beijing is committed to helping African countries combat a high burden of malaria that is a drawback to economic progress and social renewal in the continent.
African countries are keen on harnessing Traditional Chinese Medicine to combat malaria that is to blame for an estimated 1.5 percent loss to Gross National Product (GNP) in high endemic countries.
Fouad Mohadji, the former Vice President of Indian Ocean Island of Comoros said that African countries have tapped into China's advanced knowledge in alternative and complementary medicine to re-invigorate malaria control and treatment programs.
"This continent should adopt alternative therapies from China that are cheaper yet have proved to be effective in treating malaria," Mohadji said.
Comoros was declared malaria free several years ago thanks to robust cooperation with China in a host of interventions aimed at containing the tropical disease.
Other African countries that have recorded a dramatic slump in malaria cases due a strong partnership with China include Kenya, Malawi and Togo.
Mohadji said Sino-Africa cooperation in research and development of new drugs will fast-track progress towards elimination of malaria in the continent.