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Minister Talk: Health Minister on development of China's health reforms

2009-10-10 08:40 BJT

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The nation's medical and health sector has made remarkable strides since the People's Republic of China was founded 60 years ago, especially after the Reform & Opening-Up Policy began three decades ago. Medical and health service systems covering urban and rural areas have taken shape, while disease prevention and control capacity gradually improved. In our special series "Minister Talk," Health Minister Chen Zhu unveils the progress China has made in this field.

A new strain of an A/H1N1 flu virus subtype broke out in April 2009 in North America and spread throughout the world in a short time. The World Health Organization upgraded the warning to the highest level.

China successfully created an A/H1N1 vaccine after the outbreak three months later. July 21st, Health Minister Chen Zhu became the first person to receive the trial vaccination. Then more than 13 thousands volunteers followed. After twenty days, he received a second shot.

Health Minister Chen Zhu said, "I think it's a doctor's responsibility. I remember July 22nd was the first day of large-scale trial vaccination. But I had a business trip July 21st. So I spoke with the Disease Prevention and Control Center, asking whether I can take the dose in advance. They said yes. Therefore I became the first to receive a trial vaccine. But I want to remind everyone 13 thousand people participated in clinical tests. Each participant played an important role in the experiment."

China's health industry progressed in controlling the contagious disease. Because of high vaccine coverage, diseases such as polio and filariasis have virtually been eradicated. And there has been no reports of diphtheria in 20 years.

Chen Zhu said,"The life expectancy in China has risen from 35 years before liberation to 73 years in 2005. The developments of antibiotics and vaccines played a crucial role in changing the health of people. By now our country's immunity program expanded to 13 vaccines covering 15 diseases."