China’s top health authority has opened an account on Zhihu, a popular Q&A website, to share healthcare information and policy details with a wide audience.
The National Health and Family Planning Commission is the first ministry-level authority to launch an account on the site, which has about 70 million registered users.
The account Jiankang Zhongguo, or Health China, was launched in June and is updated daily with health tips and news about policies, while officials and experts regularly answer questions submitted by netizens, a worker at the commission said.
The account will be used along with 12 other online platforms, including the commission’s website, which is available in Chinese and English, as part of an effort to reach a wider audience.
Launching the Zhihu service shows that the central government “is keeping pace with internet and new media developments, is more tolerant and open and is putting greater emphasis on transparency”, a publicity official at the commission said. “We hope to utilize various new media to respond to public concerns quickly and transmit the voices of authorities, which is a duty of the government.”
Health China had 195 followers as of July 24 and had published several articles, including one on heatstroke and another on preventing the spread of disease after a flood.
“A person affected by heatstroke should rest in a cool room and be given beverages such as lightly salted water,” the article says. “They should be taken to hospital if they display symptoms such as dehydration, fever or convulsions.”
At the end are several comments from netizens. One read: “I hope more netizens will follow the account so it can play a bigger role in promoting and popularizing health knowledge.”
The top health authority has been growing its social media presence in recent years, including multiple articles about policies and medical advice on WeChat.
As of the end of last year, China had more than 730 million internet users, according to the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.