Pretoria, South Africa, April 26 – China-Africa Ministerial Conference on Health Cooperation was held in the capital of South Africa, Pretoria at 2 p.m. local time on 24 April, 2017. Bin Li, Minister of National Health and Family Planning Commission of the PRC and Dr. Motsoaledi, Minister of Health of South Africa co-hosted the conference. In addition to the officials from China and South Africa, other attendants included Michel Sidibé, Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations, Minister of Health from more than 20 countries in Africa, as well as personnel and representatives from organizations such as the United Nations Population Fund, the Global Fund and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, etc.
Yandong Liu, Chinese Vice Premier delivered a keynote speech with the theme of “Creating a Better Future for China-Africa Health Cooperation by Taking Action and Fulfilling Commitments”. Madam Liu reviewed the outcomes of cooperation on public health sector between China and Africa over the past 50 years. With China and Africa accounting for one-third of the world’s population, Liu emphasized on the importance and meaning of strengthening China-Africa cooperation in health sector. Liu made 5 suggestions: Improving accessibility of health services in Africa; Strengthening public health and disease prevention and control systems in Africa; Deepening exchange of health and humanity of children and women; Expanding China-Africa medical cooperation, and Encouraging Chinese medical enterprises to enter Africa market, which were all well-received by attendants.
Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations said that Africa accounts for 25% of the world’s disease burden, yet health expenses in Africa only comprise less than 1% of that of the world. He thanked China for providing life-saving medical support to Africa, and appealed to the international community to raise awareness of medical service in Africa, the continent that occupies 15% of land of the world.
Professor Q.Y. Ma, CEO of Time Medical Systems also attended the conference and delivered a speech on “Innovation on Medical Diagnostic Imaging Service” under the topic of China-Africa medical industry cooperation. Professor Ma pointed out the two big challenges in medical diagnosis in Africa: lack of diagnostic equipment and lack of radiologists and technologists. Medical diagnostic imaging industry has been monopolized by a few multinational corps for a long time, leading to expensive equipment and high diagnostic fee. Advanced medical diagnostic imaging equipment such as CT and MR machines are still not available in many countries in Africa. In better developed countries such as South Africa MR diagnosis scan would cost US$500, while gross domestic product per capita in half of the 55 countries in Africa is only less than US$2000. Moreover, there is no radiologist available in 15 African countries. Professor Ma emphasized that Africa has an urgent need for affordable medical diagnostic service which could cut more than 80% diagnostic fee, and this target can only be achievable through technological innovations.
Professor Ma highlighted some key innovations in diagnostic imaging from Time Medical. First, developing high quality, low cost diagnostic equipment, such as the PICA MR system; Second, developing dedicated (for orthopedic, neonatal and breast scan) imaging equipment to lower diagnostic scan fee to the level comparable to the prices of cups of coffee. Third, developing Mobile Medical Imaging System (MMIS) for regular checks of residences in rural villages, which could significantly reduce fixed expenses of the clinics. Forth, introducing Artificial Intelligence DR machine and utilizing big data and deep learning technology to overcome the lack of radiologists and technologists in Africa. Fifth, building up a tele-imaging diagnosis platform. Professor Ma concluded that with the help of these innovations, Time Medical can enter the Africa market and help to solve the difficulties in medical service in Africa.
Professor Ma's speech aroused strong responses from attending representatives. Minister Li highly praised the speech. Ministers of Health of South Africa, the Republic of the Congo, Mauritania, and Angola, have discussed the potential collaborations with Professor Ma.
Other attending enterprises in the conference included China Sinopharm International Corporation, Mindray and the Beijing Genomics Institute. Alec Leung, Director for International Sales of Time Medical was also invited.