China benefits world with its own development

By He Yin, Source: People’s Daily

China stands ready to work with the rest of the international community to engage in closer exchanges and cooperation in the public health sector, jointly tackle global threats and challenges, build a global community of health for all, and make greater contributions to the health of people all over the world, said Chinese President Xi Jinping on April 25.

Xi made the remarks in a congratulatory letter to the International Forum on the 50th Anniversary of the Discovery of Artemisinin and on Building a Global Community of Health for All.

In the letter, Xi also hailed the important contributions to the global prevention and treatment of malaria and to the protection of human health made by artemisinin, a specific anti-malaria drug first discovered and successfully extracted by China 50 years ago.

The letter demonstrated the Chinese leader’s lofty vision of bearing in mind the well-being of the world and the value orientation of putting people first.

The story of artemisinin mirrors a success made by human beings in the arduous fight against diseases.

Fifty years ago, Chinese scientists, represented by Tu Youyou, firstly discovered and successfully extracted artemisinin thanks to their relentless efforts, which was later made into a new anti-malaria drug that is both effective and affordable, and comes with mild side effects.

“Artemisinin marks a small step in the process of human beings conquering malaria, and it is also a gift to the world from traditional Chinese medicine,” said Tu.

Numerous lives have been saved in Asia, Africa, Europe and America thanks to the discovery of artemisinin, and the lactone generated from sweet wormwood extracts protects a significant number of families. According to statistics released by the World Health Organization, artemisinin has save millions of lives since artemisinin-based drugs were promoted globally as antimalarials. More than 240 million people in sub-Saharan Africa have benefited from artemisinin treatment, and about 1.5 million patients have escaped death thanks to this treatment.

The story of artemisinin mirrors the mutual assistance offered by China and other developing countries.

As a result of China’s success in eradicating malaria at home, it has also launched large foreign-aid programs to help other countries prevent the disease with artemisinin.

By the end of 2021, China had provided billions of doses of artemisinin medicines, trained tens of thousands of anti-malaria professionals for developing countries, assisted in the construction of malaria prevention and treatment centers for 30 countries, and sent 28,000 medical team members to 72 developing countries for malaria prevention and treatment. These concrete actions have made important contributions to the global efforts in preventing and treating malaria.

Thanks to a China-aided malaria elimination program, the number of malaria cases has dropped by 98 percent in Comoros, while deaths from the infection have been eliminated.

Senegalese President Macky Sall noted that it was because of the support from China and other partners that his country has achieved remarkable progress in the prevention and control of malaria.

The story of artemisinin mirrors China’s efforts to benefit the world with its own development.

Humanity is a community with a shared future. Solidarity and cooperation remain the most powerful weapons against global and regional public health challenges. Be it joining hands with the rest of the world to combat malaria, or joining international cooperation in the fight against SARS, bird flu, Ebola and COVID-19, China has always been giving a helping hand to other countries to tide over difficulties.

Facing the COVID-19 pandemic, the country has carried out its largest emergency humanitarian action since the founding of the People’s Republic of China in 1949. It has provided hundreds of billions of anti-pandemic supplies to 153 countries and 15 international organizations and supplied 2.1 billion doses of vaccine to more than 120 countries and international organizations. It is making COVID-19 vaccines an accessible and affordable public product for developing countries.

From eliminating major infectious diseases such as malaria, to promoting international cooperation on the fight against COVID-19, China has always put people and their lives in the first place, which is responsible for not only the health and lives of the Chinese, but also the global public health cause. With concrete actions, the country is practicing the vision of building a global community of health for all and building a powerful joint force for the world to fight COVID-19.