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

2009/06/15

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 health development.

As part of its overall effort to respond to the financial crisis, the Chinese government has not only incorporated public health into its economic stimulus package, but also made greater efforts to advance the reform of its medical and health system. The government has taken upon itself greater responsibilities and increased inputs in a bid to establish a sound primary medical and health care system that covers residents in both urban and rural areas in order to provide our people safe, effective, convenient and inexpensive medical service so as to realize the objective of basic health care for all. In the coming three years, the Chinese government will invest 850 billion RMB yuan, of which 331.8 billion yuan will come from the central government, to ensure the successful advancement of the reform of the medical and health care system.

The health department of China has carried out wide exchanges and cooperation at various levels with other countries and relevant international organizations through multiple channels. So far, more than 300 agreements or plans of implementation have been signed with 89 countries. China has provided assistance to the best of its ability to African and other developing countries in the form of personnel training, sending medical teams, helping to build hospitals and providing free anti-malaria medicine as part of our efforts to help other developing countries implement the relevant MDGs.

Mr. President,

The Chinese government pays high attention to H1N1 flu and responded rapidly. A series of measures have been taken which include: intensify quarantine inspection at entry ports to minimize the risk of the import of cases of H1N1 flu; closely monitor the epidemic within the country; strengthen contingency arrangement in response to the epidemic; scale up health education and information communication; and get fully prepared in terms of ensuring sufficient reserve of material and technology needed to prevent and control the epidemic. While working to control the epidemic at the domestic level, the Chinese government also steadily increases exchanges and cooperation with WHO and countries and regions concerned to provide information in a timely manner and has provided countries and regions concerned material, reagent for diagnostic purposes, and technical and financial support for the prevention and control of H1N1 flu. The Chinese government is willing to work with other governments and relevant international organizations to strengthen information exchanges, coordinate relevant prevention and control actions in our joint efforts to protect the life and health of our people.

Thank you, Mr. President.

 

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