By Bivan Saluseki in Tianjin, China
Saturday April 19, 2008 [04:00]
CHRONIC diseases and increasing medical costs have become an unbearable burden for most countries especially in Africa, Tasly Global Marketing Holdings president Dr Yan Xijun has said. And a senator from Ghana, Amma Busia, has said Africa faces a major challenge in the provision of quality health services to its people.
Speaking to journalists after addressing medical professors and media personnel from China and Africa on Chinese medicine in Tianjin on Thursday, Dr Yan said health did not consist only of the absence of disease or infirmity.
“Although unprecedented and great achievements have been made in contemporary medicine and numerous lives have been saved, there is still unmet medical and health needs,” he said.
Dr Yan whose company is in the healthcare industry, said currently the world could not even control HIV/AIDS through medication especially for developing countries.
“What we need are drugs suitable for developing countries, new drugs with low cost and suitable for developing countries’ economic situations,” he said.
Dr Yan said several countries with ancient civilisation had formed their own traditional medical systems such as the Greek, Indians and Chinese.
He said there was need to introduce disease prevention measures in the healthcare industry that could not be fulfilled by one industry or enterprise.
Dr Yan said health should be a priority for governments.
China has a life expectancy of 72 years.
And senator Busia said Africa needed to improve its healthcare system.
She said Ghana for instance had serious health challenges it needed to address.
Busia said by 2006, Ghana had 3,240 physicians, 19,707 nurses, 393 dentists, 1,388 pharmacists, and 899 laboratory technicians for a population of over 20 million people.
She said there was need for Africa to explore the entire range of possibilities including a universal national health insurance scheme.
Busia said one of the challenges Africa faced in the provision of healthcare services was lack of funding and inadequate human resource.
“We need development of human resources through expanding and improving professional health training,” said Busia.
Tianjin is an economic and trade centre in North China and an important traffic hinge connecting China and the world.