Twenty-first Century "maritime Silk Road" and the international communication platform

“Power of CAEXPO” in China-ASEAN Health Exchange and Cooperation

2022-09-20 08:29:38   By:China-ASEAN    Hits:

Written by Guan Qiuyun / Translated by Wei Yingling

“Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, China and ASEAN have been working together to fight the pandemic, demonstrating the spirit of helping each other and sharing weal and woe for a community with a shared future.” Chinese President Xi Jinping commented in the congratulatory letter to the 18th China-ASEAN Expo (CAEXPO). These eloquent words lifted the gloom of the pandemic and brought a ray of hope and profound affirmation to the China-ASEAN cooperation in the fight against the pandemic.

Within only a dozen years, China’s participation in global health governance has undergone multiple roles shifting from an integrator and a supporter to an initiator. In the face of the dire pandemic during the past three years, CAEXPO has been actively assuming its responsibility as a platform for China-ASEAN health cooperation, continuously strengthening health exchanges and cooperation with ASEAN countries, and enhancing the capacity of public health services, to contribute to building a China-ASEAN community of health.

Fruitful outcomes yielded by China and ASEAN in the fight against the pandemic

As the vision of building “Five Beautiful Homes” together shared by China and ASEAN gradually got on the right track in 2021, it has become people’s earnest wish and direction of efforts to jointly build a peaceful home and a health barrier.

Under the framework of the regularly held China-ASEAN Forum on Health Cooperation, China and ASEAN countries have strengthened exchange and communication in pandemic prevention and control, emergency health response, traditional medicine, and personnel training, with achievements made in many health cooperation projects. 

Strengthening the training of talents in the field of health is a long-term, efficient, and strategic initiative for China and ASEAN to build the China-ASEAN community of health. Based on the advantages of geography and policies in Guangxi, Yunnan, and other border regions, China has built high level training bases for medical and health talents. Both sides continued to carry out long-term and short-term training programs in various forms. Academic institutions, medical schools, and civil society in China and ASEAN countries are encouraged to conduct teaching, scientific research, and people-to-people exchange activities. Thanks to all these efforts, thousands of medical students, health administration officials, and professional technicians have been cultivated.

In intelligent medical industry, cooperation between China and ASEAN has seen gratifying rapid progress, with results made in cross-border medical treatment. “The official launch of the China-ASEAN Cross-border Medical Cooperation Platform serves as a bridge for the two sides to integrate medical industries. Patients from ASEAN countries can make appointments for registration, payment of fees, treatment, and other services online”, said relevant persons in charge from Guangxi Medical University.

With gritty determination and initiatives, China and ASEAN have set a benchmark for global anti-pandemic cooperation at the beginning of the outbreak of the COVID-19. As the demand for pandemic prevention materials increased sharply, medical surgical masks, protective clothing, and other supplies were sent to ASEAN countries. What’s more, a group of China experts came to ASEAN countries to conduct research to treat the COVID-19. They collaborated on developing the vaccine and provided “Chinese experience” for ASEAN countries. 

Currently, the increasing awareness of public health and safety in ASEAN countries coincides with China’s focus on global public health. It can be seen that the two sides are running both fast and steadily on the path of health cooperation.

Sinovac staff transporting COVID-19 vaccine in the packaging plant

Power of CAEXPO in opening up effective channels for cooperation against pandemic

In 2020, the 17th CAEXPO, held with regular pandemic prevention and control, has received much attention. It vividly showed the philosophy of the China-ASEAN community with a shared future: rising and falling together, sharing security and danger, and helping each other in times of trouble.

It was also this year that the CAEXPO set up the public pandemic prevention and health section for the very first time to display health-related enterprises and their products. Various pandemic prevention materials such as negative pressure ambulances, nucleic acid testing vehicles, protective clothing, and goggles were displayed on the exhibition, covering more than 1,000 square meters. A steady stream of customers appeared in front of the booth and endless orders are surging in from the internet. Against the severe pandemic, outcomes achieved in the fight against the pandemic displayed at the CAEXPO provided the “sense of security” for people around the world.

Besides, focusing on social concerns, the 17th CAEXPO actively implemented the Statement of the Special ASEAN-China Foreign Ministers’ Meeting on the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) and held the 3rd China-ASEAN Forum on Health Cooperation towards a Silk Road of Health.

The 3rd China-ASEAN Forum on Health Cooperation towards a Health Silk Road was held during the 17th CAEXPO

The Health Cooperation Forum comprises six sub-forums and aims to promote the establishment of regional cooperation mechanisms for preventing and controlling the pandemic. Among the six sub-forums, the Diseases Prevention and Control Collaboration Forum focuses on the surveillance, strategy, technology, information sharing, new issues and challenges of the COVID-19, and other major infectious diseases, providing practical suggestions and initiatives for China-ASEAN cooperation against the pandemic. 

Although making such a great achievement, China-ASEAN cooperation in healthcare didn’t stop here. Through the 18th CAEXPO, practical cooperation projects between China and ASEAN in healthcare became even more impressive and overwhelming.

The 18th CAEXPO, like the previous session, established the Public Pandemic Prevention and Health section to display the achievements of pandemic prevention and control and business opportunities in the health industry, with the aim to promote international cooperation on pandemic prevention with ASEAN. It held the work meeting and training course on joint prevention and control of Lancang-Mekong River Basin infectious disease and AIDS project in China-Vietnam Border Region (Guangxi) to serve the implementation of the China-ASEAN Silk Road of Health Talent Training Program. At the same time, the 18th CAEXPO organized a series of events to facilitate the building of a global community of health for all, boosting the strong recovery of regional trade and economy.

The Public Pandemic Prevention and Health section

With CAEXPO as its platform, a new China-ASEAN health exchange channel has been opened up. The influence and contribution of the “Power of CAEXPO” in public health have paved the way for China and ASEAN to make breakthroughs in anti-pandemic cooperation and laid a solid foundation for the China-ASEAN community of health.

Relentless pursuit leading to a bright future

It has been evident that the pandemic in recent years has not blocked the channels and enthusiasm of China-ASEAN health cooperation, but effectively further enhanced the willingness of all parties to firmly strengthen health cooperation. Therefore, how to further take the favourable advantages of the China-ASEAN platform and scale for greater heights is inevitably emerged as a topic that all parties need to carefully ponder about. 

According to Francisco Duque III, Health Secretary of Philippines, CAEXPO, as an official platform for dialogues and cooperation between governments, needs to exert its power to popularize scientific knowledge and guide opinions on public health 

emergency prevention policies.

“Diseases know no borders. That’s why we need international cooperation. We must effectively utilize the CAEXPO as an crucial channel for maintaining information exchange between China and ASEAN. We should also timely report and keep the ASEAN countries informed of the latest development of the pandemic along with the prevention and control situation, hold more seminars and forums focusing on health and medical cooperation, and invite experts in the medical field from different countries to share and deliberate their relevant academic experiences. In addition, measures should be taken to strengthen exchange on pandemic prevention and control, treatment, and research, and advocate the implementation of more health cooperation projects participated by the two sides”, said Yu Xuejun, Deputy Director General of the National Health Commission of China.

Malaysia’s Minister of Health Datuk Seri Adham bin Baba looks forward to establishing the China-ASEAN Centre for Regional Medical Supplies Stockpile and the ASEAN Centre for Public Health Emergencies and Emerging Diseases through the CAEXPO, preparing for possible pandemics in the future.

Thai Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Health Mr. Anutin Charnvirakul pointed out the need to support the development of enterprises affected by the pandemic, especially MSMEs, and to make good use of digital economy cooperation and online CAEXPO to promote economic activities and trade under the pandemic.

As the new CAEXPO is approaching, the health cooperation will scale to a higher level again. As one of the high-level forums conducted during the CAEXPO, the 4th China-ASEAN Forum on Health Cooperation towards a Silk Road of Health will be held in Nanning, Guangxi. In addition, a series of health cooperation forums such as the 2022 China (Guangxi) Health Industry Summit and the China-ASEAN Traditional Medicine Cooperation Forum will be held on a regular basis, emphasizing Nanning Channel’s important role in the exchange and cooperation between China and ASEAN 

in the health sector.

The CAEXPO will continue to expand its health exchanges and cooperation with ASEAN countries, strive to become a platform for improving public health cooperation, and revitalize regional economy, writing a new chapter of fighting against the pandemic between China and ASEAN countries.

桂ICP备14000177号 Copyright@2006-2013 Guangxi China-ASEAN Panorama Magazine Agency Co., Ltd. All Rights Reserved