The Chinese government has donated medical imaging equipment to the value of over R1.5 million to the Steve Biko Academic Hospital.
The Steve Biko Academic Hospital is the first beneficiary of a cooperation agreement in health between Africa and China that was made in 2015 during the second Forum on China–Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) Health Ministerial Meeting.
The medical equipment includes a high-end portable colour ultrasound system, SynoVent E5 Adult/Neonate ventilator and an A7 High-end anaesthesia workstation, which have all been sourced from South Africa.
During the official handover at the hospital, Chinese Vice-Premier Liu Yandong said health is a crucial segment of people-to-people cooperation and that it can take China-Africa relations to greater heights if the cooperation is prioritised.
Vice-Premier Liu added that China and Africa will improve cooperation in hospitals, child-maternal care and pharmaceutical companies.
Health Minister Dr Aaron Motsoaledi responded with gratification saying how the donations will improve the quality of services delivered in public hospitals and help retain staff who are often unsatisfied with medical equipment at public hospitals.
“We have received about 24 patients monitor equipment, meaning we can have more patients monitored at the same time, unlike before. This also means that patients will not have to queue for longer hours to get services,” Hospital CEO, Mathapelo Mathebula, told SAnews.
“We have equipment but most have reached its lifespan; we bought a lot of equipment in 2006 but it is currently limping, and we have started replacing it slowly since about four years ago,” continued Mathebula.
Mathebula added that the equipment will also be used to train health professionals and graduates that practice at the hospital.
The medical equipment donation coincided with the South Africa-China High Level People-to-People Exchange Mechanism (PPEM) conference, which took place from the 24th to 27th of April 2017.
During the event Dr Motsoaledi urged conference delegates to fast track the implementation of flagship projects which fall under the Health Cooperation between China and Africa.
These include the production of generic drugs for HIV/AIDS, TB and malaria; strengthening African Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (ACDC) and the five regional collaborating centres; and establishing dedicated China-Africa Human Resources for Health Programme to address Africa’s human capital challenges.
According to Chinese Health and Family Planning Commission, Minister Li Bin, during 2017 China will provide Africa with “more than 50 training opportunities in healthcare work.”
About eight agreements, which include the donations to the Steve Biko Hospital, were signed between African countries and China, the terms of which differ from country to country. Some include China building hospitals in some countries.