China can take on global role in improving public health, MSF says

Updated: 2016-01-23 00:01

By Cecily Liu(China Daily Europe)

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China has the ability to take a global leadership role in improving public health by sharing some of its vaccines with other developing counties that suffer from the same diseases, said Joanne Liu, international president of the public health non-government organization Medecins Sans Frontieres.

Although China has developed vaccines like Hepatitis E for its domestic market, the difference it can make in other developing countries is huge and MSF is keen to be a partner in expanding these vaccines' international reach, Liu told China Daily in an interview on Wednesday at the World Economic Forum in Davos.

"To develop a good relationship with China is very important for us, we see a lot of opportunities that can be harnessed," said Liu, who returned from a visit to China in December, during which she met with representatives from China's Ministry of Health, the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, and some think tanks.

Although MSF has run projects in China since 1989, Liu said the December trip was the first visit her team has been invited by the Chinese government officially and she hopes it will be followed with many more visits to allow the two sides to discuss cooperation opportunities.

Liu said in particular the scale and affordability that China's research and development strength has made some vaccines very useful for other developing countries with large populations.

She said another area of potential cooperation is for MSF to share with the Chinese government its experiences on security in conflict zones such as Sudan, where it also needs to work as a part of its international aid efforts.

MSF had a presence in China since 1989, working in different public health projects. One example of a MSF project in China is its cooperation with the Chinese NGO Aids Care China (ACC) to support a clinic near the Chinese border with Myanmar in mother and pre-and-antenatal care.

In September 2013, an MSF team began providing technical assistance to ACC to improve the clinical management of HIV/AIDS patients. The aim was to demonstrate that a new model of comprehensive care, incorporating patient counselling, could deliver better treatment outcomes.

MSF also supported the development of ACC by reinforcing its medical expertise in HIV/AIDS management. This collaboration finished in April 2014.

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