Disease Prevention and Treatment

Chinese public health departments at all levels conscientiously pursue the principle of putting prevention first. Active steps are taken to prevent and, if necessary, treat contagious, endemic, parasitic and other diseases. In the early 1960s China entirely eradicated smallpox, more than a dozen years ahead of the rest of the world.

In the 50 years since the founding of New China, epidemic prevention stations were established by governments at various levels all over the country, which have played an important role in disease prevention and treatment, and hygiene supervision. In 1998, epidemic prevention stations totaled 4,018, among which 1,696 were county-level epidemic prevention stations and 1,889 were specialized clinics and health stations.

In order to eliminate and control epidemic and endemic diseases, the Chinese government has issued a series of laws and regulations, such as the Law on the Prevention and Treatment of Epidemic Diseases, National Plan of Action for Eliminating Poliomyelitis by 1995, and Program on Eliminating Iodine-Deficiency Diseases by 2000. Active measures have been adopted for promoting immunization programs. Inoculation of children has successfully controlled the incidence of measles, polio, diphtheria, whooping cough and epidemic encephalitis B. The incidence of these diseases and the death rate of children from them have dropped greatly. At present, disease prevention and treatment and patriotic hygiene work are making great progress. As a result, the health of all Chinas citizens has greatly improved since 1949, and the average life expectancy has increased from 35 to 70. Today, the main causes of death are malignant tumors, cerebrovascular diseases and heart diseases, which are typical causes of death in developed countries. Relevant research institutes and medical organizations are currently actively pursuing better methods for the prevention and treatment of these diseases, while monitoring the incidence and infection trends of epidemic diseases in both China and foreign countries. In the past 50 years marked achievements have been made in disease prevention and treatment in China. The Disease Control Department of the Ministry of Health won the special achievement prize for public health work awarded by the WHO in 1996.

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Last updated: 2000-07-13.