|Speech by Ms. Zhang Dan at the 2009 UN Civil Society Development Forum|
New York, 15 October 2009
I am honored to be present at this important meeting and share with you information about China's voluntary presentation at 2009 ECOSOC Annual Ministerial Review (AMR) on implementing the international agreed development goals in regard to public health. This is the first time that China made national voluntary presentation on MDGs and Mr. Chen Zhu, Minister of Health participated in the meeting. He highlighted progress and achievement made, challenges faced by Chinese government to meet the MDGs by the year 2015 and policies to be taken in the coming years to address these challenges. I will not repeat what he said during the presentation, but I will highlight some of the key factors that underline our experience:
1. On health-related MDGs, the overall picture is that China has achieved MDG4 to reduce by two thirds the mortality rates among children under five, MDG6 on TB prevention and malaria rate, and is well on track to achieve MDG5 on improving maternal health and MDG6 on combating HIV/AIDS.
2. The Chinese government has fully integrated MDGs in China's development strategies and has taken a comprehensive and multi-sectoral approach on promoting public health, with people-centered principle as the foundation. The progress that we have made on health-related MDGs mainly derive form our social and economic development which laid the groundwork for improving sanitation, hygiene, access to clear water and housing and improvement in infrastructure.
3. We designed our national health plan and programs based on our own national circumstances. China's efforts towards MDGs is by no means an easy task since it has to address the tremendous challenges posed by its huge population, poverty, underdevelopment, disparity between regions, rapid aging process and urbanization. All of these factors constitute the major social determinants in health outcome. In light of these circumstances, China put disease prevention as top priority, strengthening its surveillance and control of infectious diseases while at the same time focusing on control and treatment of chronic diseases, endemic diseases, occupational diseases and birth defects. With concerted efforts over the past year, medical and health insurance system covering both urban and rural regions has been established and expanded, benefiting nearly 90% of the population.
The current global economic and financial crisis has compounded the difficulties that we face and endangered the gains already made in social development. To effectively counter these challenges, my government is determined to scale up its reform on health care over the next three years. The key concept that guides our reform is to provide basic medical and health care as public goods, not as commodities, to all citizens, so as to sustain the progress towards the goal of health care for all. The reform is designed to achieve social equity and social justice by making medical and health care services more accessible and affordable to residents of rural and western areas, achieving universal health insurance coverage by expanding rural cooperative medical scheme, establish national essential drug system to reduce the cost of medicine and drugs, and continue to push forwards with public hospital reform.
Theses are some of the highlights in China's national presentation at this year's AMR. I am sure you can find the complete report of China for the AMR on health-related goals and commitments on UN website.
Before concluding, let me briefly share with you our perspectives on the Ministerial Declaration adopted by the high-level segment of ECOSOC this year, We are happy the Declaration was adopted by consensus and some of the elements that we believe are essential to the achievement of health-related goals and targets are reflected in the declaration, including the emphasis on the linkage between health with poverty reduction, education and health literacy, the importance of providing affordable medicine, and more importantly the recognition of traditional medicine as one of the resources of primary health care and services. These are the some of the issues that China attaches importance to.
With these, I want to thank you for your attention.