China shares experiences in primary health care at 72nd World Health Assembly

Updated: May 21, 2019 Xinhua Print
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Ma Xiaowei (C), head of China's National Health Commission, speaks at a side-event of the 72nd World Health Assembly (WHA) entitled "From primary health care to universal health coverage and sustainable development goals" in Geneva, Switzerland, on May 20, 2019. (Xinhua/Xu Jinquan)

GENEVA, May 20 (Xinhua) -- On the first day of the 72nd World Health Assembly (WHA) here on May 20, China's delegates shared their experiences in primary health care, stressing the importance of "political commitment" and a "people-centered approach" to safeguarding people's right to health.

Addressing a side-event of the WHA on Monday, Ma Xiaowei, head of China's National Health Commission, outlined his country's experiences in putting people's health as a strategic priority and integrating health into all policy-making processes.

The side-event, entitled "From primary health care to universal health coverage and sustainable development goals", was jointly sponsored by China and several other countries.

According to Ma, from the early 1950s to the late 1970s, China gradually introduced a three-tiered prevention and health care network in the rural areas, and developed the rural cooperative medical scheme, thus paving the way for rural health undertakings in the country.

Since China's reforms and opening up in 1978, he said, the country has continued to strengthen its primary health care services, build a "safety net" for residents who seek medical care, improve the quality and efficiency of primary health care services, and ensure that the general public have access to basic health care.

As for China's experiences in achieving its goals in this field, the health official said China has been striving to heed the changing conditions and adhere to the principle that government-led, rights-centered public institutions should play the leading role.

"China persists in focusing on the grassroots level and gives play to grassroots institutions in health management and common disease diagnosis and treatment," he added.

What's more, he said, China has made great efforts to meet the people's multilevel and diversified health needs and always put people's satisfaction at the heart of its efforts.

"China is willing to continue to strengthen cooperation and exchanges with all parties and make positive contributions to the global goal of universal health coverage and the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals, and thus to make more contributions to the building of a community of shared human destiny," he noted.

Representatives of the World Health Organization (WHO) and Kazakhstan, Ethiopia, Russia and other countries also shared their experiences and views at the side-event, which was attended by more than 200 people from various countries and international organizations.

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