SCIO press conference on promoting high-quality development of health undertakings, protecting people's health

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Mr. Lei Haichao, vice minister of the National Health Commission (NHC)

Mr. Wang Hesheng, vice minister of the NHC and administrator of the National Disease Control and Prevention Administration

Ms. Yu Yanhong, a member of the Leading Party Members Group of the NHC and commissioner of the National Administration of Traditional Chinese Medicine

Ms. Wang Bin, director general of the General Office of the NHC


Mr. Chen Wenjun, director general of the Press Bureau of the State Council Information Office (SCIO) and spokesperson of the SCIO


Nov. 1, 2023

Chen Wenjun:

Ladies and gentlemen, good morning. Welcome to this press conference held by the State Council Information Office (SCIO). This is the 29th briefing in the series "Embarking on the New Journey — A Government Perspective." Today's conference is about promoting high-quality development of health undertakings and protecting people's health. We have invited Mr. Lei Haichao, vice minister of the National Health Commission (NHC); Mr. Wang Hesheng, vice minister of the NHC and administrator of the National Disease Control and Prevention Administration; Ms. Yu Yanhong, a member of the Leading Party Members Group of the NHC and commissioner of the National Administration of Traditional Chinese Medicine; and Ms. Wang Bin, director general of the General Office of the NHC. They will answer your questions.

Now, I'll give the floor to Mr. Lei for his introduction. 

Lei Haichao:

Friends from the media, good morning. I am delighted to share with you the updates on our health initiatives and report to those who hold our health projects in high regard. First, I would like to express my gratitude to all sectors of society and the media for your sustained interest in China's health endeavors, and the acknowledgment and support you have extended to us.

Health affects the happiness of every family and plays a significant role in shaping the future of our nation. General Secretary Xi Jinping has highlighted that health is an important indicator of socialist modernization. Since the beginning of this year, we have implemented Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era and the guiding principles of the 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC). We have engaged in in-depth thematic education and transitioned into a regular COVID-19 response phase, applying prevention and control measures for Class B infectious diseases. We have fast-tracked the Healthy China Initiative, launched 49 regional medical center projects, begun the development of 81 integrated urban medical groups, and championed the high-quality development of public hospitals. Our efforts extended to the comprehensive establishment of closely-knit county-level medical communities. We have initiated a three-year campaign to improve medical services and patient experience, while actively advancing the development of the rural medical and healthcare service system. A total of 82.7% of public hospitals at the second tier and above now offer appointment-based medical services, and the per capita subsidy for basic public health has reached 89 yuan. We have seen marked enhancements in the accessibility, fairness and quality of our basic public health services. We remain committed to the guiding principles of the 20th CPC National Congress and are resolute in advancing the high-quality progression of the health and wellness sector. In doing so, we have considered the following aspects:

First, we aim to delve deeper into the Healthy China Initiative and the patriotic health campaign. Our goal is to mitigate the primary health risks faced by citizens. We advocate lifestyles centered around civility, health and eco-friendliness, while pushing forward the development of clean, health-focused cities. We have rolled out national nutrition strategies and encouraged balanced diets. We have also launched special initiatives focusing on the prevention and treatment of major chronic diseases, such as cardiovascular disease and cancer. Additionally, we have ramped up our approach to mental health care and occupational disease management, with the goal of drastically reducing and eventually eliminating the risks of major health threats.

Second, we have emphasized enhancing healthcare services at the grassroots level and have consistently deepened reforms in public hospitals with public welfare as our guiding principle. We have improved the tiered diagnosis and treatment system, ensuring that quality medical resources are distributed more equitably and expanded to grassroots and lower-tier medical facilities. We have been pushing forward with the construction of national medical centers and regional medical centers. During the 14th Five-Year Plan period, there has been support for the establishment of no fewer than 750, 5,000 and 10,000 key clinical specialties at the national, provincial and city/county levels, respectively. We aim for medical facilities in cities with larger populations to reach the standards of Grade 3A hospitals. Across the nation, at least 1,000 county-level hospitals have been targeted to reach the standards of Grade 3 hospitals. Also, we have emphasized elevating 1,000 central township health centers to Grade 2 hospital standards. Building on these efforts, we have fostered a developmental framework that combines urban with rural settings, creating a cohesive bond between counties and villages. We have enhanced medical services and quality management, and have perfected a medical emergency system that balances routine and urgent care with rapid response capabilities. National-level emergency medical rescue teams have now been established in every province.

Third, we have built a robust public health shield to ensure the well-being of our citizens and support socio-economic growth. We have continued to manage the prevention and control of outbreaks such as COVID-19, influenza and mycoplasma pneumonia in children, and have continually strengthened the prevention and control of major infectious diseases like AIDS, tuberculosis, hepatitis, as well as regional disease control efforts. We have systematically advanced the reform and high-quality development of the disease control system, enhancing professional capabilities in areas such as surveillance and early warning, emergency response, laboratory testing and epidemiological investigation. We have promoted the coordination and integration of medical and preventive care, and have essentially built a powerful public health system that meets the nation's public health needs.

Fourth, we will continue to improve health service provision for older people and children to promote high-quality population development. We will improve policies supporting childbirth and support the program of childcare services for the benefit of all. Additionally, we will strengthen daily health management and services for older people over the age of 65, especially those who have lost or are nearly losing their ability to take care of themselves. We will work to foster the development of national and regional centers for gerontology and geriatric hospitals, ensuring that the proportion of gerontology departments in Grade II general hospitals and above reaches over 60%. Moreover, we will implement the new action plan to guarantee maternal and infant safety, as well as the plan to safeguard children's health, aiming to achieve a screening rate of over 98% for genetically metabolic diseases in newborn babies.

Fifth, we will make greater efforts to promote the preservation and innovative development of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), aiming to make these services more convenient and accessible. We will implement initiatives to revitalize and develop TCM and establish pilot zones to advance comprehensive TCM reforms. Additionally, we will also launch pilot programs to promote the preservation and innovation of TCM. Furthermore, we will launch major projects to promote TCM culture, and to train talents in both TCM and the integration of TCM and Western medicine.

Sixth, we will provide coordinated supportive services to promote the high-quality development of the health sector. We will uphold the leadership of the CPC in health-related work and strengthen the system in which hospital directors bear overall responsibility under the leadership of the Party Committee. We will also improve the legal system for safeguarding people's health and governance capacity. Moreover, we will improve the supervision and response system for biological security and fire safety. We will make greater efforts to improve medical science and technology research and innovation to meet demand and ensure practical application. We will promote reform in medical education and advance the training of medical talent, enhancing the training and staffing of medical personnel at the grassroots level. By doing so, we aim to establish a reliable medical team at the grassroots level. In addition, we will advance the Health Silk Road initiative and actively participate in international health governance.

That concludes my introduction. Next, my colleagues and I would be happy to answer your questions. Thank you.

Chen Wenjun:

The floor is now open for questions. Please identify the media outlet you represent before posing your questions.

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