China is expected to set up a nationwide framework for its community health service system by 2005, said officials from China's health and civil affairs departments in Beijing Friday.
China has decided to take measures to improve its community health service system, according to officials attending an inauguration ceremony for building pilot communities with a better health service system.
Vice minister of China's Health Ministry Zhu Qingsheng said that the community health service networks made great contributions to the prevention and control of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) this spring.
Zhu said the service networks did a lot in surveying and reporting SARS cases, in screening and transferring SARS patients and in disease contact tracing, which helped a lot in combating SARS.
About 100 pilot communities are to be set up in the next two years, including 20 that will employ traditional Chinese medicine, under the guidance of the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Civil Affairs and the State Administration of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Zhu added.
He said community health service is very important for better social and economic development, and the service system is expected to cover the whole country in the future.
According to statistics from the Ministry of Health, 358 cities had started a community health service by the end of 2002, accounting for 54 percent of China's total.
(Xinhua News Agency October 10, 2003)