Source: Xinhua

Lawmakers underscore health care, ask for all-round efforts

BEIJING, Dec. 26 (Xinhua) -- Chinese lawmakers have called for all-round efforts to improve health care.

During panel discussions on Tuesday afternoon, legislators discussed a draft law on basic medical and health care submitted to the ongoing bi-monthly session of the National People's Congress (NPC) Standing Committee for first review.

Despite their overall support for the draft, many focused on health care, which has not been good enough for some.

"The State Council last year suggested the focus of medical and health care work switch from treatment to health," said Wang Longde, member of the standing committee, who referred to a guideline released by China's cabinet last December.

"However, some departments have taken little action during the year," he continued. "The major responsibilities of each department should be written into the law."

Chen Zhu, vice chairman of the NPC Standing Committee agreed, asking for clarification of the duties of departments including taxation, education, agriculture and others, so that they can work together to ensure the people's health.

For instance, agricultural departments should take responsibility for preventing diseases of animals from infecting humans, as cases including SARS and bird flu were all lessons, Wang added.

Some suggested schools play a bigger part.

"Exams serve as an important 'baton' for students," said Zhou Qifeng, another member of the standing committee. "Knowledge of health care should be included in exams."

Yong Ruisheng, deputy to the NPC, asked for at least one physical education class per day for primary school students, which, if implemented by law, would be more effective than merely suggesting the amount of physical exercise per day.

Issues such as tobacco control, privacy of health information and food safety were also discussed.

Lawmakers also discussed a draft of China's first law on soil pollution, which was submitted for its first reading on Friday, when the session opened.

They highlighted the significance of quality agricultural products, risk management and control of polluted farmland, as well as the responsibilities of local governments.

The session of the NPC Standing Committee is scheduled to close on Wednesday.