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Lancet. 2017 Dec 9;390(10112):2595-2601. doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(17)32898-2. Epub 2017 Dec 8.

China's Silk Road and global health.

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Department of Global Health, School of Public Health, Peking University, Beijing, China. Electronic address:
Department of Global Health and Population, Harvard T H Chan School of Public Health, Boston, MA, USA.
China Medical Board, Beijing, China.
China Medical Board, Cambridge, MA, USA.


In 2013, China proposed its Belt and Road Initiative to promote trade, infrastructure, and commercial associations with 65 countries in Asia, Africa, and Europe. This initiative contains important health components. Simultaneously, China launched an unprecedented overseas intervention against Ebola virus in west Africa, dispatching 1200 workers, including Chinese military personnel. The overseas development assistance provided by China has been increasing by 25% annually, reaching US$7 billion in 2013. Development assistance for health from China has particularly been used to develop infrastructure and provide medical supplies to Africa and Asia. China's contributions to multilateral organisations are increasing but are unlikely to bridge substantial gaps, if any, vacated by other donors; China is creating its own multilateral funds and banks and challenging the existing global architecture. These new investment vehicles are more aligned with the geography and type of support of the Belt and Road Initiative. Our analysis concludes that China's Belt and Road Initiative, Ebola response, development assistance for health, and new investment funds are complementary and reinforcing, with China shaping a unique global engagement impacting powerfully on the contours of global health.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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