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Schools Most Vulnerable to Health Scares
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Seventy percent of the nation's public health crises take place in schools, Vice-Minister of Health Wang Longde said on Friday.

And low public awareness is to blame, said Wang, ahead of World Health Day on Saturday.

"The general public does not have sufficient knowledge about maintaining health, a basic human right," Wang said. "Instructing people on how to take care of their health is the government's responsibility."

The alarmingly high incidence of undiagnosed health problems in China, especially among city dwellers, is largely to do with unhealthy lifestyles, according to Wang.

"Bad working habits, poor disease prevention knowledge, inadequate government investment and lack of health education are the main reasons behind this dire health situation," Wang said.

He said as society and the economy advanced, people will become more concerned about their health and disease prevention, and the government should provide support through education.

"Many ailments are easily cured with today's medical science, and many people are vulnerable to diseases, and even death, because they lack proper health education," Wang said.

Many healthcare initiatives were taken in China after the mass outbreak of SARS in 2003 that put public health safety under the spotlight.

In recent years, 14 billion yuan has been earmarked for the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, according to the Ministry of Health.

And in 2004, the ministry trained around 30 senior Chinese medical and healthcare officials in infection control and risk management.

(China Daily April 7, 2007)

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