African health officials on Tuesday lauded Chinese pharmacologist Tu Youyou for winning the 2015 Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine.
“We heard the very good news that a Chinese doctor has been honored to get the Nobel prize in medicine for her work in control of malaria,” Alzouma Dari, Deputy Health Minister of Niger, told Xinhua on the sidelines of the 2nd Ministerial Forum of China-Africa Health Development held here Tuesday.
“My country always has malaria outbreaks. We can use her work and knowledge to help us and our health workers to train them to control this disease,” he said.
Tu Youyou won the prize for discovering Artemisinin which has significantly reduced the mortality rates for patients suffering from malaria.
Awa Marie Coll Seck, Senegal’s Minister of Health and Welfare, said Tu Youyou was the one who gave hope to all the affected countries in Africa.
Seck said he has been taking care of malaria patients for years on a global level so he knows how Artemisinin works effectively.
“I would like to congratulate the Chinese scientist who won the Nobel prize. There are lots of ways to work together and it will benefit the African continent with low cost on malaria medicines,” said Lesotho Health Minister Molotsi Monyamane.
Aaron Motsoaledi, South African Minister of Health, said “we are very excited, this Nobel prize was awarded to a scentist from China … We all want to eradicate malaria, so we are very happy and we congratulate her heartily.”
Dr Matshidiso Rebecca Moeti, Regional Director for WHO’s Africa Region, described the discovery of Artemisinin as “an exciting achievement” and the prize won by Tu comes naturally from real distinction.
For Chinese scientists, this is a “historic moment”, Moeti said, adding that the discovery of Artemisinin has greatly contributed to the health of the peoples in the world.
The contribution is more evident in Africa where many people, particularly children who are killed by malaria, she added.
With Artemisinin, Africa has changed for the better and has been put in a better position to achieve the UN Milllenium Development Goals, Moete said.
She said health workers in Africa all know that Artemisinin came from China and they all appreciated that.
Moete described China as “a great partner” in Africa’s development, particularly in the health field since Chinese medical assistance to Africa has sustained long periods.
For many years, China has sent medical teams to many African countries and this has won the appreciation of the African people, she said. Enditem