Community Development Health

China, Zimbabwe collaborate on schistosomiasis elimination

MOU signing and the unveiling of the National Centre for International Research on Tropical Diseases

After more than 70 years of fighting against schistosomiasis, China has eliminated the prevalence of schistosomiasis to the lowest level and has accumulated rich experience in the prevention and control of the disease and will use its experience to contribute to the prevention and control of schistosomiasis in Zimbabwe.

This came up yesterday at the close-up meeting marking the end of the Pilot Study of  China-Zimbabwe Cooperation Project on Schistosomiasis Elimination and Unveiling of the National Centre for International Research on Tropical  Diseases held in Harare.

Chinese National Institute of Parasitic Diseases (NIPD) Deputy Director, Prof Li Shizhu expressed his gratitude to the World Health Organization (WHO) Country Office in Zimbabwe, the Ministry of Health and Child Care of Zimbabwe, and the National Institute of Health Research of Zimbabwe (NIHR) for their support and cooperation.

“After more than 70 years of fighting against schistosomiasis, China has eliminated the prevalence of schistosomiasis to the lowest level and has accumulated rich experience in the prevention and control of schistosomiasis. We are willing to share our experience and contribute to the prevention and control of schistosomiasis in Zimbabwe.

“The National Health Commission of China and the Ministry of Health and Child Care of Zimbabwe signed an MOU on schistosomiasis control and elimination cooperation project in April 2021, and the Chinese schistosomiasis experts group has been sent to carry out a 50-day on-site investigation in Zimbabwe, which was a key measure to implement the health care initiative proposed by H.E. Chinese President Xi Jinping, and was a vivid reflection of our friendship,” he said.

China built several hospitals for Zimbabwe, such as the Chinhoyi Provincial Hospital in 1996, the Mahusekwa China-Zimbabwe Friendship Hospital in 2013, and the Expansion Project of China-Zimbabwe Friendship Hospital in 2019. A Chinese company invested in and built the Healthpoint Medical Center, which is the first Covid-19 hospital in Zimbabwe. Chinese companies supported the upgrading of Wilkins Hospital in Harare. The China-aid Zimbabwe National Pharmaceutical Warehouse has greatly improved Zimbabwe’s drug storage and medical service response capability.

China has been carrying out free clinic activities in Zimbabwe for a long time. Since 1985, China has sent 20 medical teams to Zimbabwe with a total of 188 doctors. The China Medical Team permanently works in Harare, and often carries out free medical services across the country, treating more than 67,000 patients up to now. In 2010 and 2011, China carried out the “China-Africa Brightness Journey” and cured hundreds of cataract patients in Zimbabwe.

This year, they will carry out another “Brightness Journey” in Zimbabwe to help more cataract patients see their eyes again. In 2016, China launched the “Maternal and Child Health” Innovation Project and provided diagnosis and treatment of cervical diseases. During the COVID-19 pandemic, China sent a team of 12 experts to Zimbabwe to carry out training and guidance on pandemic prevention, diagnosis, and treatment.

China has donated a large amount of medical supplies to Zimbabwe for the improvement of medical and health conditions. In 2019, China donated urology medical equipment to Zimbabwe. During the COVID-19 pandemic, China provided Zimbabwe with 17 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines and donated treatment equipment and materials for COVID-19, making significant contributions to Zimbabwe’s fight against the pandemic.

China and Zimbabwe have enhanced cooperation in traditional medicine, making acupuncture and traditional Chinese medicine very popular in Zimbabwe. The TCM Acupuncture Center has completed expansion and officially opened for operation in 2022, providing free and high-quality TCM and acupuncture diagnosis and treatment services to more than 2,000 patients every year. Zimbabwe also has traditional medicine with a long history and a rich variety of herbal medicines. The cooperation between China and Zimbabwe in traditional medicine has a good foundation and broad prospects.

China and Zimbabwe deepen hospital cooperation and intensify exchanges and training. China Hunan Provincial People’s Hospital and Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals have strengthened cooperation in respiratory and critical diseases. The Chinese government has provided funds to carry out training programs for medical employees, strengthen exchanges and cooperation in the medical and health sectors between China and Zimbabwe, and help Zimbabwe improve its medical level.

This year, China will hold several medical training programs, including clinical laboratory technology, medical equipment operation, and public health management. Yesterday, four researchers from the National Institute of Health Research were invited to attend the Seminar on Tropical Disease Control in Beijing from October 10th to October 30th. China will bear all the charges including international transportation fare and accommodation in Beijing.

In addition, China actively cooperates with international organizations to carry out medical assistance in Zimbabwe. In 2020, China donated US$1.24 million to the Health Assistance Project implemented by the United Nations Population Fund.

Looking forward to the future, China and Zimbabwe will continue to deepen cooperation in the medical and health sector and make greater contributions to improving the health and well-being of the people of the two countries and building a global community of health for all.

China and Zimbabwe are good brothers, good friends, and good partners, sharing a long-standing friendship, and always following the principles of sincerity, real results, affinity, and good faith with concrete actions, aiming to achieve common development and prosperity.

China has been Zimbabwe’s largest source of foreign investment for many years. Private investments from China are becoming vital forces in promoting Zimbabwe’s economy. Dinson Iron and Steel Company invested by China’s Tsingshan Corporation is under construction and will be commissioned in December of this year, which will be built into the largest steel plant in Africa by 2030. Large private enterprises from China have invested in local lithium mines and are revitalizing the resources that were long idled by Western companies. Many Chinese enterprises have invested in other sectors such as agriculture and manufacturing. These investments have brought Zimbabwe considerable forex earnings and tax revenues and created tens of thousands of jobs.

China has provided concessional loans for projects in Zimbabwe, such as the Kariba South Hydro Power Station Expansion, the Hwange Thermal Power Station Expansion, the Victoria Falls International Airport Upgrading, the Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport Expansion and Upgrading, and the NetOne Mobile broadband Phase III. These projects have improved infrastructures that are urgently required in Zimbabwe.

China has provided grants and built the New Parliament Building, the High-Performance Computing Center, and several schools in Zimbabwe. China has assisted in drilling 1000 boreholes nationwide and will drill another 300 boreholes for Zimbabwe, benefiting more than 400 thousand people in easier access to safe drinking water and better agricultural irrigation. China has sent 5 agricultural expert groups to enhance agricultural technology and promote agricultural modernization in Zimbabwe.

China is the third largest trading partner and biggest buyer of agricultural products in Zimbabwe. 50% of the tobacco leaves produced in Zimbabwe are exported to China. China and Zimbabwe have signed an agreement for Fresh Citrus Exporting to China. Zimbabwean citrus will appear in the Chinese market soon, bringing tangible benefits to Zimbabwean farmers.

“In the future, we will promote the friendly cooperation between China and Zimbabwe to continuously achieve new progress, inject new content into the comprehensive strategic cooperative partnership between China and Zimbabwe, and make new contributions to promoting China-Africa friendship and building a community with a shared future for mankind.

“To conclude, I wish this meeting a complete success, and congratulations on the signing of the cooperation MOU and the unveiling of the National Center for International Research on Tropical Diseases,” he added.


About the author

Byron Adonis Mutingwende