Roundup: China's medical aid scaling up health care provision in Uganda

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KAMPALA, April 18 (Xinhua) -- China donated an assortment of medicines and medical equipment on Wednesday to the China-Uganda Friendship Hospital in the capital Kampala, which have progressively improved local health care service.

China has been donating medical supplies to Uganda over the past 36 years since the first Chinese medical team arrived in the African country.

The supplies worth 100,000 U.S. dollars will be used to cure patients who have different diseases and go to the Chinese-donated hospital for help.

Chen Huixin, counselor of the Chinese Embassy in Uganda, while handing over the supplies to Uganda's minister of health Ruth Aceng, said China has donated medicines and equipment to Uganda worth more than 8 million dollars over the past 36 years.

China has also sent 19 batches of medical teams, totaling up to about 200 doctors to Uganda over the years.

"Public health cooperation is an important component of the friendly China-Uganda and China-Africa relations. We have provided necessary assistance to Uganda to the best of our capability, helping to improve the health care service," Chen said.

He said China has provided free training opportunities to more than 600 Ugandans annually, some in the field of health.

The Chinese medical teams have also trained some Ugandan specialists, junior doctors and nurses with new medical technologies, such as laparoscopy, which was rarely practiced in the east African country.

Facing a possible spread of the deadly Ebola Hemorrhagic Fever from neighboring eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), where the disease is raving communities, Uganda has got assistance from a Chinese mediacal team to shore up efforts in preventing the virus transmission and handling a possible outbreak.

"The experts came here to work with their Ugandan counterparts in the esteemed ministry of health, to jointly develop an Ebola emergency prevention and control program," Chen said.

All these efforts fell into the realm of the eight initiatives that Chinese President Xi Jinping announced at the opening session of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) summit held in Beijing last September, according to Chen.

Aceng said the medical aid from China is critical in filling in the gaps that cannot be addressed by local supplies.

"These medicines go a long way in supporting our allocation for medicines and medical supplies to this facility. This facility is a national referral hospital. This means whatever we are giving this hospital is not enough for its functions," she said.

Aceng said China has also been supportive to Uganda in addressing emerging and re-emerging infections, for example, the building of Uganda's Center for Disease Control.

"They have already made the commitment, discussions are underway. We are drawing designs, we have acquired the land and in the near future we shall have a Ugandan Center for Disease Control," she said.

A team of Chinese experts have also been working with their Ugandan counterparts in disease surveillance especially in Uganda's border areas.

The minister said health situation at the border is crucial because it ensures monitoring of disease transmission with people's entry and departure.

"China has committed to support us to strengthen border health. They have carried out a survey, we have a report that they have shared with us, we have had numbers of discussions with the ambassador and the process is ongoing," Aceng added.

Emmanuel Batibwe, Director of China Uganda Friendship Hospital said plans are underway to operate the 100-bed hospital. He also said Uganda's ministry of finance and ministry of health are making efforts to complete the designs.

The hospital would be upgraded a trauma and orthopedics center, Aceng said. Enditem

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