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Health Policy Support Project Launched

The China Health Policy Support Project was launched in Beijing yesterday by the Ministry of Health, the UK Department for International Development (DFID) and the WHO, aiming to help China enhance its ability to develop health policies and build an efficient and equitable health system.

Minister of Health Gao Qiang hoped it would "enhance the research and policy making ability of the Chinese health department."

According to the ministry, during the 4-year span of the project the DFID will provide 6 million pounds (US$10.8 million) in subsidies -- 4.8 million pounds to the government and 1.2 million to the WHO.

The project's focus will be enhancing human capacity building by means such as training and forums for decision makers, said Liu Xinmin, a health ministry official.

Gao said bilateral and multilateral exchanges and cooperation in health are more urgent than ever as contagious diseases pose new threats to humankind in the process of economic and trade globalization.

The minister spoke highly of cooperation in the health with the UK over the past few years, saying "a number of cooperation projects have been carried out or launched, and in particular, it has yielded remarkable progress in raising funds for AIDS control and healthcare for the poor population, and the development of community healthcare services."

The DFID is an agency of the UK government responsible for helping developing countries eliminate extreme poverty. Its Beijing office was established in July 2003.

(Xinhua News Agency October 21, 2005)

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