China's Health Aid to Africa

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Tesha, Florence


Toole, David
Barnes, Nicole Elizabeth
Clements, Dennis Alfred III

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Sino-Africa relations involve China’s foreign aid to African countries. There are many questions surrounding China’s foreign aid, such as its scope, its impact, and whether it is altruistic or opportunistic. This thesis provides an analysis of China’s health aid to Sub-Saharan Africa, drawing in part on research I conducted in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, on China’s health services. This paper begins with an analysis of the history of the relationship between China and Africa, while taking into account colonialism. This history is important in understanding the complexity of China’s engagement in African countries. This paper then focuses on two components of China’s health aid: Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and the relationship between Chinese doctors and the African communities they work in. Results suggest that TCM offers an affordable alternative form of medicine to most Africans in low-income countries. However, there is still uncertainty about whether the provision of free TCM by the Chinese government is altruistic or a strategy to promote Chinese products in the African market. Additionally, the research shows that there is a lack of interaction between Chinese doctors and the African local communities. The thesis concludes that, regardless of China’s motivations, foreign aid alone does not result in the development of a country. There is a need for African governments and societies to take an active role in the allocation of health aid to their people so that it best serves communities. Thus, instead of indulging in the debate on whether health aid is altruistic or not, African countries should focus on finding ways to use aid to advance their own best interests.





Tesha, Florence (2017). China's Health Aid to Africa. Honors thesis, Duke University. Retrieved from

Dukes student scholarship is made available to the public using a Creative Commons Attribution / Non-commercial / No derivative (CC-BY-NC-ND) license.