By Dr. Xiaoyun Liu, Peking University China Center for Health Development Studies
On the 16th of January 2013, China and the UK government jointly initiated a new programme on global health. As China is an emerging world economy, bilateral and multilateral aid programmes to China (in the health sector) have been decreasing. For example, at a recent conference held in Beijing, AusAID mentioned they may stop their bilateral aid health programme to China after the current ones are completed. They intend to shift then towards other types of collaboration and partnership. At the same time, China, as many other international stakeholders acknowledge, has become an important player on the global stage. Hence, it is keen to contribute to the development of the global health agenda and to apply China’s experiences to support health system strengthening in other developing countries. Yet, in order to take up this new role, China needs to further develop its capacity in global health.
Against this backdrop, the UK Department for International Development (DfID) has stopped its traditional bilateral aid to China, which focused on health policy support and HIV & TB control. Through the new Global Health Support Programme (GLSP), the two countries will develop a brand new type of partnership. DfID will provide 12 million GBP for this programme, as well as technical support and assistance for programme implementation, while China will provide technical expertise and equipment. The 5-year programme will finish by September 2017. China’s MoH Center for Project Supervision and Management will be in charge of programme management.
The programme will consist of four major parts. First, the programme will enhance China’s capacity to widely disseminate its experiences in infectious disease control, maternal and child health (MCH), and health system strengthening (HSS) to other developed and developing countries. This will be achieved through research activities, publications and training. Second, the programme will support China to better understand international experiences in global health activities including bilateral and multilateral aid programme management. A series of learning activities, evaluation studies, and training projects will be organized to achieve this goal. Third, the programme will help China to develop its capacity to participate in global health agenda setting and policy development. One such example is the development of the post-MDGs. Stakeholders (academic institutes and MoH ) in China have been actively involved in the global and domestic discussions regarding the post-MDGs with regard to health. High level dialogues between the Chinese and UK governments will also be routinely organized during the programme to promote China’s participation in emerging global health issues. Finally, the GLSP will develop a few pilot partnership projects between China and developing countries in Africa and Asia. These pilots will apply China’s successful experiences in disease control, MCH, and HSS in African and Asian countries and test their applicability and effectiveness. The pilots will be implemented by institutions in China, UK, and African/Asian countries.
A steering committee is developing the overall design of the programme. Further details of the programme arrangement will be disclosed later. For some parts of the programme (e.g. research projects and pilot study), there will be open calls for application.