The Chinese government announced Sunday to allocate an additional 812.6 million yuan (US$98.3 million) to improve infrastructure and capacity of local medical institutes in a bid to prevent severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) epidemic from spreading to rural areas.
The fund was on top of another 1.55-billion-yuan special appropriation that the Chinese government had already channeled to the construction of nation-wide disease prevention and control network.
Chinese Vice Premier Zeng Peiyan presided over a meeting on accelerating the construction of infrastructures used for preventing and treating SARS recently. According to the spirit of the meeting and with approval of the State Council, the State Development and Reform Commission (SDRC) decided to channel more fund from issuing treasury bonds to the fight against SARS this year.
The 812.6 million yuan will be earmarked for SARS control in the most severely affected regions. The fund will be mainly used for restructuring hospitals dedicated for SARS treatment and fever clinic and isolation chambers at rural county-level medical institutes, purchasing medical equipment and vehicles they desperately need. In the same time, the fund will also be used to construct isolation chambers and purchase relevant equipment at the outlets of SARS-affected regions, build disposal facilities of hazardous waste and medical sewage and purchase specialized transport vehicles.
The SDRC said the country would complete a three-tiered nation-wide disease control network within this year. It will also draft the blueprint of a national medical system for sudden public health incidents.
(Xinhua News Agency May 11, 2003)