Remarks by Amb Tan Jian at the Handover Ceremony of
China-Aid Tirunesh-Beijing General Hospital Phase II Project
(Akaki, 3 July 2018)
Your Excellency Ato Admasu Abebe, State Minister of Finance and Economic Cooperation,
Your Excellency Ato Berhanu Feyissa, State Minister of Health,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
A very good afternoon to all of you.
It gives me great pleasure to attend this Handover Ceremony of the Tirunesh-Beijing Hospital Phase II project.
I am really happy to be here -- as Ambassador, not patient, of course.
I want to pay tribute to the medical doctors, you are great people like Samaritans. I want to pay tribute to those who contribute to the health of the Ethiopian people.
We Chinese believe that the most precious thing on earth is human life. There is a saying: Better save one life than build a seven-storied pagoda for the god.
Medical doctors, along with school teachers, are the two highly respected professions.
Health, along with education, are the two priority issues in the agenda of our government.
I believe this is also the case in Ethiopia.
This is a China-aid project, consisting of two phases. Phase I, including an outpatient building, an in-patient building with 100 patient-bed, and components for administration purpose, was formally put into use in 2012.
To further improve the working and living conditions in the hospital, Phase II was launched to build the dormitories, canteen, warehouse, and other subsidiary buildings. They are now ready to be handed over to Ethiopia.
With a total investment of $16.5 million, the Tirunesh-Beijing Hospital is the largest public health cooperation project between our two countries.
With the enhanced capability, it is also one of the largest general hospitals in Ethiopia.
I wish to take this opportunity to thank our Ethiopian partners. the Ministry of Health, Ministry of Finance and External Cooperation, the management of the hospital, doctors, physicians, nurses and local residents, for your valuable and indispensable support and cooperation.
My thanks also go to the Top International Engineering Corporation (TIEC), the contractor of the project, for the strong commitment and dedication, for completing the construction on schedule and with good quality.
Ladies and gentlemen,
This hospital is a symbol of friendship between our two peoples.
As you may know, it is also called China and Ethiopia Friendship Hospital. The Chinese side has paid meticulous efforts into its quality, to ensure the desired effects. I am told that, for the phase II project, apart from the obligations assigned, the Chinese contractor offered to undertake lots of work which is not included in the contract, such as the electric circuit.
It is a joint-venture of of our two sides, for the social benefit of the Ethiopian people.
This hospital is a signature achievement of China-Ethio public health cooperation.
We are working with Ethiopian colleagues, providing both hard-ware as well as soft-ware support.
Medical facilities have been build. In this hospital, four institutions have been set up, namely, the Chinese Traditional Medicine Center, the Trauma Treatment Center, the Maternal and Child Health Center, the Remote Pathology Consultation Center. This will help lift the professional standards of the hospital to much higher level.
In addition, Chinese doctors have come to work shoulder and shoulder with their Ethiopian doctors and physicians, not only treating patients, but also sharing medical skills with each other.
Ethiopia has achieved remarkable results in health sector in the last decade.
Health posts and health centers were constructed in all areas.
Medical staff and health professionals have been trained and deployed across the country.
Primary health care service coverage has improved.
Mortality rate under five and maternal mortality rate have declined continuously.
The life expectancy of Ethiopians today is 65 years old. It was only 47 in 2000. What an achievement! And I believe that, thanks to the continuous efforts of the Ethiopian government and cooperation with other countries, Ethiopians will be living longer and longer.
What’s more, H.E. Ato Tedros Adhanom was successfully elected as the Director-General of the World Health Organization last year -- the first African to take this important post. It’s an acknowledgment to his quality, and to the medical progress of Ethiopia. And I am proud to say, China offered him our firm support during his election campaign. Why? Because he is an African; because he is an Ethiopian -- competent and qualified.
Public health is an important component in China-Africa Cooperation In December 2015, H.E. President Xi Jinping made a pledge at the Johannesburg Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation to implement ten major cooperation plans with Africa, one of which is public health.
Public health is high on the agenda of China-Ethiopia cooperation. We want to help the people, the vulnerable, the patients. China has been doing the following work:
One, dispatching medical team. Since 1974, China has sent 20 medical teams comprising over 300 personnel to Ethiopia, serving the Ethiopian people with selfless sacrifice and border-less love. The Chinese doctor Mr. Mei Gengnian, who was leading the first Chinese medical mission, passed away in 1975 in a car accident while he was serving local communities in Jimma of Oromia. He was buried in the local village where he served. Mr. Mei was not only an extraordinary doctor, but also a committed envoy of China-Ethio friendship. Up till now, the Chinese doctors have treated more than 2 million person-time Ethiopian patients. Today, the members of 20th medical team are also attending the ceremony and sitting with us, They deserve a big applause! Let’s give them a big hand.
Two, investing in public health sector. The Chinese government has been encouraging companies to invest in the public health in Ethiopia. Three weeks ago, I attended the Sansheng Pharmaceutical Company Inauguration in the East Industrial Zone. It is the biggest Chinese pharmaceutical investment with a first phase investment fund of $85 million, using highly advanced and environmental-friendly technologies. I am told that over 80% of the essential medicine demand in Ethiopia are imported from international market. Investment in health like Sansheng not only saves money, more importantly, it saves life.
Three, China carries many projects in Ethiopia in the public health sector.
It has sets up scholarship for medical school students in Jimma University;
It helps train managerial personnel, doctors and nurses in both short term and long term courses;
It conducts the "Brightness Action" program to do surgeries for cataract patients, they recover their sight and see light again.
It conducts the “Smiling Again” program to do surgeries for children with cleft lips, they smile happily and beautifully.
It donates humanitarian nutritious goods for local beneficiaries suffering malnutrition.
Ethiopia has set the objective of “improving the health outcomes of citizens through provision of equitable, accessible and quality health services” in its Growth and Transformation Plan II, and Ethiopia Health Sector Transformation Plan (2015/16-2019/20).
We do believe that, with joint efforts, those objectives could be and would be attained in the coming future.
Ladies and gentlemen,
China will host the FOCAC Beijing Summit this September, the theme of which is “win-win cooperation and join hands to build a closer community with a shared future for China and Africa”. Public health cooperation will be one of the topics for discussion and cooperation. How to advance the “Belt and Road” Initiative? Alignment among various initiatives so as to maximize the benefit. We will align the “Belt and Road” Initiative with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development of the United Nations, with the Agenda 2063 of the African Union, with the GTP II of Ethiopia. We will compliment each other and seek synergy among our initiatives.
China will continue to work closely with Ethiopians, with the principles of sincerity, practical results, affinity and good faith and the values of friendship, justice and shared interests.
Ladies and gentlemen,
Let me conclude by officially handing over, on behalf of the Chinese government and people, the Tirunesh-Beijing General Hospital Phase II Project to the Ethiopian government and people, particularly citizens in this community.
Here is the symbolic key to the hospital.
Thank you, the government and people of Ethiopia.
Thank you, the Tirunesh-Beijing Hospital, all local and Chinese health care staff.
Help people, save life. What a noble cause!
Let’s join hands.
Thank you all!