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Statement by Ambassador LIU Zhenmin at the High-level Forum on Advancing Global Health in the Face of Crisis


June 15, 2009

Mr. President,

At the outset, I wish to thank Secretary General Ban Ki-moon for taking the initiative to convene this Forum on Advancing Global Health in the face of Crisis. I believe that our discussion here will contribute positively to mobilizing more efforts towards health-related MDGs, helping vulnerable groups weather the crisis and promoting the coordinated action at the global level in the area of public health.

Due to the influence of the current global financial and economic crisis, efforts to reach health-related MDGs are confronted with daunting challenges. Public health departments of all countries are faced with increased demand for their services, the risk of lower services quality, contraction of financial resources as well as a higher risk of a "brain drain" of health professionals. China is of the view that in responding to the above challenges, it is necessary to take the following measures:

First, coordinate the promotion of public health with the response to the financial crisis and effectively guarantee input in public health. In formulating economic stimulus packages, countries should set as a priority the achievement of health-related MDGs, provide adequate financial guarantee to public health departments and minimize to the extent possible the impact of the crisis on poor families. It is also necessary to strengthen policy coordination among various departments, actively mobilize the participation of the civil society and expand the coverage of public health service system.

Second, maintain and increase assistance to the developing countries and minimize the damage brought upon them by the crisis. A vast number of developing countries, especially low income countries, are hardest hit by the crisis because of their inadequate financial reserves, fragile public health systems, backward infrastructure and long term dependence on external assistance. The developed countries and multilateral assistance institutions should honor their assistance commitment and increase assistance in order to help the developing countries weather this crisis.

Mr. President,

The Chinese government attaches great importance to the development of public health and has always viewed the promotion and improvement of the people's health as an important part of its endeavor to build a harmonious society. It has made unremitting efforts to reach health-related MDGs and has achieved remarkable progress. However, owing to low economic development level and the big size of the population, China has to address the imbalance of health care services, a weak and vulnerable public health system, especially in rural areas and at the community level. Meanwhile, urbanization, aging of the population and ecological environment changes also present daunting challenges to public