China's Ministry of Health said Tuesday it will strive to expand the health counseling hotline "12320" to all provincial-level regions before the end of this year.
The hotline's official microblog was launched on Tuesday and the official website www.12320.gov.cn is also now available for health counseling.
The ministry said it will build a public service network and offer services through the hotline, websites, self-service terminals and mobile phones.
Since 2005, the "12320" hotline has been already opened in 20 provincial-level regions in China. No extra service fee is required except the charge of local calls.
The hotline offers health counseling to the public based on the information from a national health database, which covers 18 special subjects, including infectious diseases, food poisoning, occupational poisoning, chronic diseases, environment sanitation, nutrition and food hygiene, and others.
It also publicizes health policies and laws, handles complaints, monitors and analyses the public sentiments in public health emergencies.
As of February 2012, the hotline received more than 4 million calls, including 71,000 complaints and 600 tip-off calls.
Half of the complaints were directly explained and solved by the hotline, and the others were sent to health departments to handle, according to the ministry.