Fake Fake Drugs From China: What’s Stopping a Cure for Malaria in Africa? – Kathleen McLaughlin – The AtlanticPosted: June 11, 2013
In recent years, Beijing has promoted plans to open at least thirty malaria treatment centers across Africa. Yet the malaria clinic in Dar es Salaam that was trumpeted by Chinese state media was closed when I visited last year, barely a year after it opened. Patients and staff said the facility was unused because doctors were not trained how to operate the equipment from China.
There is no reliable source of information to determine the number of Chinese clinics opened or shut in Africa — none except perhaps those records kept by the global drug companies whose salesmen must fill new orders each month. A primary trouble with China’s medical aid on the continent is that it has not been subject to independent oversight.
A lack of follow-through at many clinics has added to a growing negative perception of China in East Africa.
Yet some Chinese medical aid is working, particularly when it involves manpower. For example, a team of doctors dispatched from China’s subtropical, and once malaria-infested, Yunnan province to Kampala to work in a newly-funded Chinese hospital has a long roster of patients eager for their expertise and treatments like acupuncture for pain. Uganda’s health-care system suffers a serious shortage of personnel, so the Chinese doctors are filling a gap.
But even those doctors were running a private, for-profit backdoor pharmacy, undermining their purely humanitarian aid mission in Uganda.