diseases remain a major global public health threat worldwide. For example,
Tuberculosis, Ebola and HIV/AIDS are mass killers, with the populations in some
poor countries being hit the hardest. In
addition, rapidly developing microbial resistance has led to a new dimension of
threat posed by infectious disease.
Even though tuberculostatic medicines exist and multi-drug resistant tuberculosis are treatable, millions of people still die of tuberculosis each year.
Despite, the gains registered in the treatment and prevention of global epidemics, there is still more to be done in preventing and controlling the spread of HIV/AIDS.
However, a number of environmental factors also influence the spread of communicable diseases that are prone to cause epidemics. This make it all the more important to have a functional disease surveillance system useful for priority setting, planning, resource mobilisation and allocation. This could also be useful in predicting and detecting on time of epidemics. It is an undeniable fact that most of the current disease surveillance system is neither working effectively to measure the health impact of the disease control programmes nor detecting outbreaks for early intervention.
The recent disclosure by Ma Jainchun, the ambassador of The Peoples’ Republic of China to The Gambia during activities commemorating Word Aids Day in The Gambia that China would launch a cooperation programmes geared towards the prevention and control of emerging and re-emerging communicable diseases such as HIV and AIDS and malaria for African countries, is a welcome development.
We also wish to laud China for its foresight and commitment to train more medical specialists for Africa and to send medical teams that better meet Africa’s needs. This move is further anchored on the South-South cooperation and is part of a broader goal in fostering China-Africa relations, by opening up new frontiers for our future cooperation.
As rightly stated by ambassador Ma, the successful holding of the FOCAC Beijing Summit marks another step forwards in China-Africa relations and create historic opportunities for ‘our health cooperation’.
However, reporting of cases of communicable disease is important in the planning and evaluation of disease prevention and control programmes, thereby coming up with appropriate medical therapy, and in the detection of common-source outbreaks.