China willing to cooperate on healthcare
GENEVA - A senior Chinese health official told an international forum that China is willing to cooperate with other countries to reduce "health injustice" and achieve better services for everyone.
Ma Xiaowei, minister of China's National Health Commission, told the 71st World Health Assembly, which kicked off in Geneva, Switzerland, on Monday, that China puts a high priority on the nationwide healthcare network.
He said that China attaches key importance to the establishment of a high-quality and efficient medical and health service system, and makes every effort to make the service affordable.
Also, deepening the reform has become a strong driving force to move the health service forward on a road with Chinese characteristics, he said.
"China is actively participating in global health governance and promoting the building of a shared community with a common destiny, as well as helping developing countries to achieve their universal healthcare goals," said Ma, who is leading the Chinese delegation at the assembly.
According to him, during the past 55 years, China has sent medical teams to 69 developing countries, dispatching 250,000 healthcare professionals and treating 280 million patients.
The assembly, which will be held until Saturday, has attracted nearly 4,000 delegates from the World Health Organization's 194 members and partner organizations.
It is the WHO's highest decision-making body, setting out the organization's policy and approving its budget.
On Monday, it unveiled an ambitious plan aiming to benefit 3 billion people globally over the next five years with improved healthcare and well-being.
The plan, entitled "13th General Program of Work", will guide the activities of the WHO from 2019 to 2023.
The plan sets out three strategic priorities to ensure healthy lives and promoting well-being for all ages. It aims to help 1 billion people benefit from universal health coverage, 1 billion more to be better protected from health emergencies, and another billion to enjoy better health and well-being.
Though the latest WHO annual report on the state of the world's health, which was released on Thursday, highlighted remarkable progress in pushing forward the UN Sustainable Development Goals in some areas, it also warned that progress has stalled and the gains made could easily be lost.
The report underlined that less than half the people in the world today get all of the health services they need; that almost 100 million people were pushed into extreme poverty in 2010 due to health service bills; that 13 million people die every year before the age of 70 from cardiovascular disease, chronic respiratory disease, diabetes and cancer, mostly in low and middle-income countries; and that every day in 2016, 15,000 children died before reaching their fifth birthday.
"This is unacceptable," said WHO Director-General Doctor Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. "This is why we are transforming how we work to achieve our vision of a world in which health is a right for all. We are changing the way we do business."
To fulfill the plan, the WHO has vowed to step up leadership at all levels and increase the impact of better health in every country.
In addition to offering technical support, the UN health agency is advocating health "at the highest political level" at all levels of governments, and strengthening its public voice for the plan and against any harmful practices, including from industry.