（Written by Guan Qiuyun / Translated by Mo Tingting）Although the economy of China and ASEAN is gradually recovering, and even trade cooperation keeps rising against the trend and moving forward steadily, the increasing number of confirmed cases and suspected cases at home and abroad, as well as the new instructions on epidemic prevention also make people realize that epidemic prevention and control is still the background of social development in a long time.
At present, disease prevention and control with the focus on the COVID-19 is still an important task for China and ASEAN. And it has yielded fruitful results, the secret of which is that both sides have always been strengthening cooperation in public health. The China-ASEAN Expo (hereinafter referred to as the CAEXPO) has long focused on health cooperation between the two sides, actively built platforms, and discussed issues such as international cooperation, joint prevention and control, and further improvement of the regional health management level. We can see from the achievements that the influence of the CAEXPO is empowering the construction of China-ASEAN health community.
Tall buildings rise from the ground
As the friendly relationship between China and ASEAN has entered a mature and stable age, accelerating the construction of China-ASEAN health community has become a key area in China-ASEAN cooperation. A journey of 1,000 miles begins with a single step. CAEXPO makes great efforts in laying a foundation for building the China-ASEAN health community.
With the help of the CAEXPO, China and ASEAN carried out extensive exchanges and cooperation in medical health and held a series of activities such as the China-ASEAN Summit Forum on Traditional Medicine and China-ASEAN Forum on Dentistry, which created a good atmosphere for exchanges between China and ASEAN countries in medical health. Besides, both sides innovatively organized the first China-ASEAN Health Cooperation Forum in 2016 by integrating resources, thus forming a mechanism of “holding one session every two years”. Since then, a new channel of China-ASEAN health cooperation and exchange has been set up.
In the past two sessions of the China-ASEAN Health Cooperation Forum, the Nanning Declaration on China-ASEAN Health Cooperation and the Cooperation Initiative of the 2nd China-ASEAN Forum on Health Cooperation Towards a Health Silk Road were approved and launched, which further consolidated the health cooperation between the two sides. At the same time, the China-ASEAN hospital cooperation alliance has been established, several specialist alliances have been set up, and multi-disciplinary platforms have been built. Besides, six cooperation agreements have been signed, including co-construction of medicinal plant planting base, and diagnosis and treatment technology training center with ethnic medicine characteristics.
The establishment of multilateral cooperation in health can not only provide a platform for exchange and cooperation among government officials, experts, scholars, and business representatives, but also deepen the breadth and depth of the countries’ participation in global health governance. The impact and contribution of the previous CAEXPO in public health pave the way for the breakthrough achievements made by the 3rd China-ASEAN Health Cooperation Forum in 2020 and also lays a solid foundation for accelerating the construction of China-ASEAN health community.
China-ASEAN health cooperation under the epidemic
Under the epidemic, people are looking forward to seeking cooperation between China and ASEAN in new fields. The successful holding of the 17th CAEXPO made cooperation projects in health between both sides become practical.
As an important forum under the framework of the 17th CAEXPO, the 3rd China-ASEAN Health Cooperation Forum has six sub-forums, including epidemic prevention and control, hospital management, and health emergency. Experts and scholars from various medical fields gathered to pass on wisdom for China-ASEAN health cooperation, and also to offer suggestions for the current measures of infectious disease prevention and control, which have achieved practical results.
In the 3rd China-ASEAN Health Cooperation Forum, the 3rd China-ASEAN Health Cooperation Forum Initiative was released, and the Implementation Plan of China-Indonesia Health Cooperation was signed. The rich content of the Initiative injected new impetus into the China-ASEAN epidemic prevention and control cooperation in the future. In the 2020 China-ASEAN Forum on Hospital Management Cooperation, the First Affiliated Hospital of Guangxi Medical University, together with Mindray International Medical Co., Ltd., UnionPay Co., Ltd., and Guangxi Canhui Information Consulting Co., Ltd. in China, signed cloud contracts with NaypyiTaw General Hospital in Myanmar, Vietnam-Germany Friendship Hospital in Vietnam and Friendship Hospital in Laos and established cross-border medical cooperation platforms with Microsoft (China) and other institutions.
Fang Laiying, Vice President of Chinese Hospital Association, pointed out at the 2020 China-ASEAN Forum on Hospital Management Cooperation that China and ASEAN countries are close to each other in geography and boast human affinity, cultural affinity, similar climate, and roughly the same disease spectrum, thus having a broad cooperation foundation and prospects in health care. The forum will strengthen cooperation and discussion in smart health care between China and ASEAN countries, promote mutual learning, enhance the accessibility of medical services, and benefit the people of all countries. This is of great significance to jointly deal with the public health problems in Southeast Asia and build the China-ASEAN health community.
At the same time, university cooperation has become a highlight of China-ASEAN health cooperation. For example, the Institute of Dentistry of Guangxi Medical University signed friendly cooperation agreements with relevant dentistry colleges and universities in Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, etc. during the 17th CAEXPO. It plans to exchange teachers and students, and to carry out free medical services such as free consultation and public welfare surgery in ASEAN countries, so as to form an exchange mechanism, reach long-term cooperation, and provide practical technical support for emergency management, health emergency skills training, and the construction of three-dimensional rescue system in Guangxi under the epidemic.
It is worth mentioning that the physical exhibition of the 17th CAEXPO also added public epidemic prevention and health exhibition area for the first time, with the scale of 1,100 square meters and the focus on displaying upstream and downstream industries of the big health industry in Guangxi, such as protective articles and equipment, production equipment, software systems, etc., so as to promote the scale, industrialization, and integration of anti-epidemic medical material industry in Guangxi and help the big health industry expand ASEAN markets. It is reported that the public epidemic prevention and health exhibition area has attracted a number of local enterprises, and COVID-19 vaccine development enterprises from Chongqing, Wuhan, and other places as well as nucleic acid test kit manufacturers. The exhibition zone not only popularizes basic health and medical knowledge for the public, but also expands the exchange of disease drug development institutions and serves China-ASEAN health cooperation and jointly fighting against the epidemic.
Making unremitting efforts and the future will be promising
Content and method innovation and outstanding achievements of the 17th CAEXPO show that new channels have been added and feasibility has been improved in the health cooperation between the two sides. Therefore, how to give full play to the CAEXPO’s advantages and make greater achievements are the issues that all parties concerned.
As an official platform for dialogue and cooperation between governments, CAEXPO should exert its own influence, guiding public opinions on public health emergency prevention and control policies properly and popularizing scientific knowledge. Also, CAEXPO should take itself as an important channel to maintain information communication between China and ASEAN and timely report the latest situation of epidemic and prevention and control in all countries. Besides, it has to increase seminars and forums on health and medical cooperation, invite medical experts from other countries to share and discuss relevant academic experience, strengthen policy dialogue and exchange on epidemic prevention and control, treatment, and research, promote the development of health cooperation projects that is agreed by both sides. Finally, the CAEXPO has to support the development of enterprises affected by the epidemic, especially small and medium-sized enterprises, and give full play to digital economy cooperation and on-line CAEXPO, so as to promote economic and trade activities during the epidemic.
Chinese New Year is approaching. If we make unremitting efforts, we will have a promising future. We hope that China and ASEAN will continue to take the CAEXPO as a driver for health cooperation between the two sides and build a high-level China-ASEAN health community.
Source: China-ASEAN Panorama