Ren Yan and Wang Yuan
from People’s Daily
Chinese President Xi Jinping’s visit to World Health Organization (WHO) headquarters has demonstrated China’s staunch commitment to participate and inspire the international community to address the most urgent challenges facing public health, WHO Director-General Margaret Chan said in an interview with the People’s Daily.
“China’s huge achievements in public health signify a strong and sustainable top Chinese leadership,” Chan said, hailing Xi’s vision and commitment as a role-model for world’s leaders in achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Xi visited the WHO headquarters in Geneva and met with Chan on Wednesday.
China, after decades of reforms, has established a basic health care system covering urban and rural residents, Chan said, adding that the country’s health care system is on a sustainable development path.
She elaborated that thanks to Chinese government’s spending on health care, the costs covered by the public have dropped to less than 30 percent of the total expenses from the previous 35.29 percent, and such welfare will continue to be improved.
As a founding member of and strong partner to the WHO, China renders support to the organization’s health care agreements. She further noted that China has played an active part in the revision of International Health Regulations in 2005 and fulfilled its commitment to the agreement as well.
China also showcased a strong global leadership in tackling the outbreak of Ebola epidemic. In addition to donating $120 million of aids to West African countries, the UN, WHO, African Union and other international organizations, China also dispatched more than 1,200 workers to the affected regions and helped train 13,000 local medical staff to treat Ebola patients, Chan said.
Moreover, China has donated $2 million to WHO for its humanitarian health care work in Syria, she noted.
Chan praised the increasingly closer partnership between the WHO and China, saying that such ties enhanced regional and global emergency response capabilities, lifted the WHO’s abilities to prevent and control global and domestic epidemics and disasters.
The director-general stressed that the concept of common destiny of mankind works in health sector as well. Viruses such as Ebola, Zika and yellow fever not only endanger human health but also pose challenges to the economic development and social stability of the world.
The WHO will provide better support to collective actions in the face of epidemics and disasters, because it is hard to ensure the health safety of one country just by its own strength, she pledged.
WHO appreciates that China has expanded its concept of putting health as the core of economic development to the international community, Chan said, adding that China’s decades of partnership with the WHO also verify that China will sustain its commitment to the world.