Cooperation on health issues between China and African countries is helping to promote the development of the pharmaceutical industry on the continent.
Representatives from China, Africa and various international organizations are holding a two-day meeting on health cooperation in Beijing this weekend. They're looking specifically at the areas of disease treatment and ways to improve the pharmaceutical industry.
In recent years, China has been assisting Africa more and more with improving its public health systems and pharmaceutical industry. This kind of help has allowed the authorities to curb the spread of deadly diseases such as malaria.
Joy Phumaphi, the executive secretary of African Leaders Malaria Alliance, praised the collaboration between China and Africa, because the Chinese government listened to the demands of African countries.
Today, more and more research institutions are getting in on the act.
In 2015, a team led by Tu Youyou, a Chinese Nobel laureate in biology, pioneered a new approach to malaria treatment. Based on her innovative research, Shanghai Fosun Pharmaceutical Company developed an anti-malaria medicine, and saved nearly 100,000 lives in more than 30 African countries.
"Through technological innovation in bioengineering and production, as well as in the efficiency of the whole supply chain, we can effectively improve drug research development and reduce the cost of future medicine production," said Chen Qiyu, the president of Shanghai Fosun Pharmaceutical Group.
However, challenges still lie ahead. Authorities want China's pharmaceutical companies to start producing drugs for Africa. And its future research and development capabilities should be based on its strengths and local resources.
All of this depends not only on cooperation between governments, but also international organizations.
"In order for medicines from China to effectively reach Africa, one of the most important channels is to actually obtain the World Health Organization's pre-qualification, because that is actually the standard at which international organizations like the UN agencies will use to procure medicines," said Wu Wenda, the deputy director of China office of Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
The representatives at the meeting agreed that there was huge potential for cooperation between China and Africa in the pharmaceutical industry and in constructing efficient and effective public health systems on the continent.