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China-Africa Health Development Initiatives: Benefits and Implications for Shaping Innovative and Evidence-informed National Health Policies and Programs in Sub-saharan African Countries

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      Abstract

      Background and Introduction:

      This review paper examines the growing implications of China’s engagement in shaping innovative national initiatives against infectious diseases and poverty control and elimination in African countries. It seeks to understand the factors and enhancers that can promote mutual and innovative health development initiatives, and those that are necessary in generating reliable and quality data for evidence-based contextual policy, priorities and programs.

      Methods:

      We examined the China-Africa health cooperation in supporting global health agenda on infectious diseases such as malaria, schistosomiasis, Ebola, TB, HIV/AIDS, neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) prevention, control and elimination spanning a period of 10 years. We reviewed referenced publications, global support data, and extensive sources related to and other emerging epidemics and infectious diseases of poverty, programs and interventions, health systems development issues, challenges, opportunities and investments. Published literature in PubMed, Scopus, Google Scholar, Books and web-based peer-reviewed journal articles, government annual reports were assessed from the first Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) in November 2006 to December 2015 Third Ministerial conferences.

      Results:

      Our findings highlight current shared public health challenges and emphasize the need to nurture, develop and establish effective, functional and sustainable health systems capacity to detect and respond to all public health threats and epidemic burdens, evidence-based programs and quality care outcomes. China’s significant health diplomacy emphasizes the importance of health financing in establishing health development commitment and investment in improving the gains and opportunities, importantly efficiency and value health priorities and planning.

      Conclusions and Global Health Implications:

      Strengthening China-Africa health development agenda towards collective commitment and investment in quality care delivery, effective programs coverage and efficiency, preparedness and emergency response is needed in transforming African health information systems, and local health governance structures and management in emerging epidemics. Furthermore, innovative evidence of operational joint solutions and strategies are critical in advancing healthcare delivery, and further enhancing Universal Health Care, and Sustainable Development Goals to attain global health improvements and economic prosperity.

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      Most cited references 33

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      Global aspirations, local realities: the role of social science research in controlling neglected tropical diseases

      Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) are both drivers and manifestations of poverty and social inequality. Increased advocacy efforts since the mid-2000s have led to ambitious new control and elimination targets set for 2020 by the World Health Organisation. While these global aspirations represent significant policy momentum, there are multifaceted challenges in controlling infectious diseases in resource-poor local contexts that need to be acknowledged, understood and engaged. However a number of recent publications have emphasised the “neglected” status of applied social science research on NTDs. In light of the 2020 targets, this paper explores the social science/NTD literature and unpacks some of the ways in which social inquiry can help support effective and sustainable interventions. Five priority areas are discussed, including on policy processes, health systems capacity, compliance and resistance to interventions, education and behaviour change, and community participation. The paper shows that despite the multifaceted value of having anthropological and sociological perspectives integrated into NTD programmes, contemporary efforts underutilise this potential. This is reflective of the dominance of top-down information flows and technocratic approaches in global health. To counter this tendency, social research needs to be more than an afterthought; integrating social inquiry into the planning, monitoring and evaluating process will help ensure that flexibility and adaptability to local realities are built into interventions. More emphasis on social science perspectives can also help link NTD control to broader social determinants of health, especially important given the major social and economic inequalities that continue to underpin transmission in endemic countries. Electronic supplementary material The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/2049-9957-3-35) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
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        China's distinctive engagement in global health.

        China has made rapid progress in four key domains of global health. China's health aid deploys medical teams, constructs facilities, donates drugs and equipment, trains personnel, and supports malaria control mainly in Africa and Asia. Prompted by the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) outbreak in 2003, China has prioritised the control of cross-border transmission of infectious diseases and other health-related risks. In governance, China has joined UN and related international bodies and has begun to contribute to pooled multilateral funds. China is both a knowledge producer and sharer, offering lessons based on its health accomplishments, traditional Chinese medicine, and research and development investment in drug discovery. Global health capacity is being developed in medical universities in China, which also train foreign medical students. China's approach to global health is distinctive; different from other countries; and based on its unique history, comparative strength, and policies driven by several governmental ministries. The scope and depth of China's global engagement are likely to grow and reshape the contours of global health.
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          Advances in addressing technical challenges of point-of-care diagnostics in resource-limited settings.

          The striking prevalence of HIV, TB and malaria, as well as outbreaks of emerging infectious diseases, such as influenza A (H7N9), Ebola and MERS, poses great challenges for patient care in resource-limited settings (RLS). However, advanced diagnostic technologies cannot be implemented in RLS largely due to economic constraints. Simple and inexpensive point-of-care (POC) diagnostics, which rely less on environmental context and operator training, have thus been extensively studied to achieve early diagnosis and treatment monitoring in non-laboratory settings. Despite great input from material science, biomedical engineering and nanotechnology for developing POC diagnostics, significant technical challenges are yet to be overcome. Summarized here are the technical challenges associated with POC diagnostics from a RLS perspective and the latest advances in addressing these challenges are reviewed.
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            Author and article information

            Affiliations
            [1 ]Africa Disease Intelligence and Surveillance, Communication and Response Foundation (Africa DISCoR), Yaoundé, Cameroon
            [2 ]Department of Biochemistry, Higher Institute of Health Sciences, Université des Montagnes, Bangangté, West, Cameroon
            [3 ]Department of Human Biochemistry, Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Nnewi Campus, Nigeria
            [4 ]National Institute for Parasitic Disease, Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Shanghai 20025, PR China
            [5 ]National Center for International Research on Tropical Diseases, Ministry of Science & Technology, Shanghai 20025, PR China
            [6 ]WHO Collaborating Center for Tropical Disease Research, Shanghai 20025, PR China
            Author notes
            Journal
            Int J MCH AIDS
            Int J MCH AIDS
            International Journal of MCH and AIDS
            Global Health and Education Projects, Inc (USA )
            2161-8674
            2161-864X
            2016
            : 5
            : 2
            : 119-133
            5187644
            IJMA-5-119
            Copyright: © 2016 Tambo et al.

            This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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