Shanghai, 21 November 2016
Dr Margaret Chan, Director-General of the World Health Organization,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Health is a cornerstone for the comprehensive development and well-being of the people and a hallmark of national prosperity and social progress. On the occasion of the 9th Global Conference on Health Promotion, I wish to extend, on behalf of the Chinese government, warm congratulations on the opening of the conference and sincere welcome to all the distinguished guests.
This conference coincides with the 30th anniversary of the first International Conference on Health Promotion. Three decades ago, the Ottawa Charter introduced the concept of “health promotion”, which has since guided the development of the health cause worldwide. Three decades on, thanks to the joint efforts of countries around the world and the hard work of the World Health Organization (WHO), the world average life expectancy has increased by over eight years. Maternal and infant mortality rate and that of children under five have been lowered by 50% on average, which is a big milestone in the history of human health.
At the same time, we should be aware that we are still confronted with daunting global health challenges. While traditional diseases, health issues and inequality in health remain acute, faster aging of the population, greater trans-border flows of people, the evolving spectrum of disease and changing environment and lifestyles are creating new problems. The threat of multiple diseases and our vulnerability to health risks have both risen. The sluggish world economic recovery and divergent trends of economic growth have added to the difficulty of ensuring the effective supply and the balanced and reasonable allocation of health resources. Promoting health remains an arduous task and nothing short of concerted international efforts is required for truly delivering the goal of “health for all”.
This year marks the start of the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The theme of this conference “health promotion in the sustainable development goals” highlights the important role of health promotion in global sustainable development endeavor. Discussions around this theme will go a long way to promoting consensus building and synergy for the full implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). In this connection, I would like to put forward the following suggestions.
-- We should enhance policy dialogue and build a platform for health governance cooperation. Health promotion is the common endeavor of mankind. We should together build a community of shared future and take concrete actions to advance cooperation. We need to build a multilevel and wide-ranging institutional platform for dialogue and cooperation and support the WHO’s efforts to lead, coordinate and implement global health programs. Efforts should also be made to improve health legislation in our respective countries and tighten regulation on health-impairing investment and trading activities through fiscal, taxation and financial policy tools.
At the same time, we need to uphold the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities and increase the representation and voice of developing countries. Developed countries should shoulder more responsibility and support developing countries. We should work together to make global health governance fairer and more reasonable.
-- We should put in place an inclusive and interconnected system for prevention and control of global public health hazards. No country can stay immune to major public health challenges. Countries need to better coordinate health emergency practices, improve global mechanisms for disease surveillance, early-warning and emergency response, strengthen notification, information sharing and personnel training, and further improve global capacity to address public health emergencies. The Chinese government supports the WHO in putting together its global health emergency task force and contingency fund. We urge developed countries to step up support to developing countries in improving their public health systems, and together build up stronger lines of defense for global health.
-- We should enhance the capacity for health supply and services through cooperation on innovation. Scientific and technological innovation is the golden key to health. Countries need to enhance research and development of health technologies, actively conduct bilateral and multilateral cooperation, including joint research on frontier and innovative technologies, and tackle common health hazards facing mankind together. We need to expand the network for exchange and cooperation in such areas as the prevention and control of antimicrobial resistance (AMR), advanced health technologies, drug research and development, energy-saving, emissions reduction and the treatment of pollution, and build platforms for entrepreneurship and innovation. There should be wider application and sharing of scientific and technological progress to bring greater benefits to more people.
-- We should encourage mutual learning and promote greater integration between traditional and modern medical sciences. Throughout history, different countries and nations have developed their own views of health and acquired distinct strengths in the form of traditional medicine. Differences in medical practices should be embraced with equality and open-mindedness, and cultural exchanges be encouraged as a useful way to promote health cooperation. We should encourage mutual learning on the views and culture of health. We need to better promote traditional medicine, make better use of their strengths in preventing and treating diseases, and actively develop services trade in traditional medicine. By leveraging the complementarity between traditional and modern medical sciences, we will make new contribution to human health.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
China has been a strong advocate and firm practitioner of health promotion. Since the founding of the People’s Republic, in particular since reform and opening-up, China has vigorously expanded health care services despite a relatively underdeveloped economy. We have significantly improved the health of our people, and found a path of health development consistent with China’s national conditions. In 2009, China started a new round of health care reform. We identified a core objective, which is to offer basic health care services to all people as a public good, and outlined the principle of ensuring basic levels of health care, strengthening community health services and building up health care networks.
Important progress has been made in this direction. We put in place a system of basic medical insurance that covers the entire population of over 1.3 billion people, offering institutional guarantee for universal access. We improved basic rural health service network at county, township and village levels and the system of urban community health services, making such services more convenient and accessible for our people. We took vigorous measures to promote equal access to public health services and offered basic public health services for all urban and rural residents for free. Our spending on public health services has been growing year by year and will continue to grow. We worked out a Chinese solution to advance health care reform, which is a world-wide challenge.
China’s average life expectancy now stands at 76.3 years. Maternal mortality rate was reduced to 20.1 per 100,000 and infant mortality rate 8.1 per 1,000, generally better than the average level in middle and high income countries. For the largest developing country with over 1.3 billion people, such accomplishments are no mean feat.
China is at a decisive stage for building a moderately prosperous society in all respects. At the recently held National Health Conference, the first in the new century, President Xi Jinping outlined in an important speech the overall guidelines, targets and tasks for building a healthy China from a strategic and overarching perspective and proposed principles for health-related work. We will focus on the grassroots, pursue reform and innovation as a driving force and disease prevention as the priority, give importance to both traditional Chinese medicine and western medicine, incorporate health into all policy-making, and strive for participation by all and benefits to all. We promulgated the Outline of Healthy China 2030 Plan with the aim to provide all-dimensional, whole-of-the-life-cycle health services for all by 2030, increase average life expectancy to 79 years, and reach high-income countries’ level in main health indicators. With this in mind, we will make relentless efforts in the following areas:
-- We will take health as a strategic priority to advance health in tandem with economic and social progress. We will prioritize health in development planning, highlight health targets in economic and social programs, give more weight to health in drafting and implementing public policies, and meet health demand in fiscal spending, with a view to providing basic health services for all.
-- We will build a whole-process health promotion system to protect people’s health throughout the life cycle. There are many factors affecting people’s health from the beginning to the end of life. We need to provide whole-of-the-life-cycle health services for the people. Effective measures will be taken for prevention, health care and greater intervention to make people healthier and less vulnerable. We will enhance health education, spread health knowledge and skills, deepen fitness campaigns for all, raise people’s health awareness and sense of responsibility, and foster a new health system in which all people will participate, contribute and benefit. We will strengthen prevention and control of major diseases, improve prevention and treatment practices, enforce cross-agency holistic measures at all levels, and reduce damage on people’s health from major diseases. We will intensify pollution treatment and foster a sound environment for people’s health.
-- We will work hard to improve community-level health care and strengthen weak links to increase fairness and accessibility of health services. The biggest weak link in China’s health system lies at the community level, in rural and poor areas in particular. We will coordinate urban and rural development and pursue a new type of urbanization, make more resources available for community-level health programs. Communities must be equipped with greater capacity of disease prevention and control through cultivating general physicians and providing long-distance medical treatment and paired-up assistance. The advantages of traditional Chinese medicine must be harnessed to widen the availability of medical care and health services. We will implement health-related poverty-alleviation programs, intensify support for poor areas in insurance for major diseases and medical assistance, prevent disease-induced poverty, and narrow the gap in basic health services between urban and rural areas and among different regions and groups of people.
-- We will continue to deepen health care reform and set up basic health care systems that cover urban and rural areas. Our reform in this area is now in a deep-water zone, which calls for greater courage and wisdom. We will further deepen public hospital reform, quicken the development of tiered medical services, cut red tapes and enhance coordination among medical and health care institutions at various levels and of different categories. This way, we hope to provide high-quality medical services to our people, and help community-level medical institutions improve their performance. Progress has been made in encouraging big, medium-sized and small hospitals and township hospitals to establish the Health Care Alliance (HCA), which would make medical services more accessible and affordable for the people.
We will build up a nationwide basic medical insurance system, reform the way of making medical insurance payouts, merge the basic medical insurance systems for rural and non-working urban residents, and establish a nationwide information network for medical insurances to improve quality and efficiency. We will also reform the supply system of pharmaceuticals to deliver safe and effective medicine to our people. We will advance coordinated reform of medical services, medical insurance and the medicine industry, motivate medical practitioners, including by making their jobs even more dignified, and enhance the vitality and sustainability of medical and health care systems.
-- We will vigorously develop the health sector to better meet people’s increasingly diverse health needs. With higher standards of living and greater awareness about health, our people expect more multi-tiered, diversified and individualized products and services. To respond to their demands, government and market both have a role to play. The government needs to ensure basic supply, especially for the most vulnerable groups, while the market can be more active in providing non-basic and more diversified health services. We will encourage increased supply of health products and services from non-governmental sources, and the setting-up of privately run hospitals, thus making it easier for people to get more affordable medical treatment. We will support innovation in medical science and boost integrated development between the health sector and old-age care, tourism, the Internet, fitness and recreation and food industries. We will also promote mass innovation and entrepreneurship in the health sector and practice the “Internet Plus Health” action plan, so that new industries, new businesses and new models will thrive in this sector.
China has been actively calling for and contributing to global health cooperation, and has fulfilled its due international responsibilities and obligations. During the past half a century, China has sent over 20,000 medical staff to 67 countries and regions, treating patients for over 260 million times. China has contributed its share to the fight against the Ebola epidemic that broke out in West Africa in 2014. China moved promptly to dispatch over 1,200 medical staff and public health experts, who fought against the disease side by side with the people in the affected countries. China highly appreciates the prominent role that the WHO has played over the years in curbing communicable diseases and coordinating global health affairs. Under the framework of the UN and the WHO, China will continue to actively participate in global health promotion efforts and do its best to provide assistance to other developing countries.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Health is an eternal pursuit of mankind, and health promotion is the shared responsibility of the international community. Let us work together to make our world a better and healthier place!
In conclusion, I wish this conference full success.