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Bigger Gov't Role in Public Health Promised
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President Hu Jintao said at a workshop Monday that the government would shoulder more responsibility for strengthening the health system work.

At the Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) workshop, Hu stressed the need to reform the health care system and build a safe, effective, convenient and inexpensive medical care network covering both urban and rural residents.

"The goal is for everyone to enjoy a basic healthcare service," he said.

He promised more efforts to deal with public complaints about the lack of affordable medical services as well as efforts to narrow the health service quality gap between urban and rural regions and different income groups.

Improvements to the health system will give equal weight to traditional Chinese medicine and western medicine.

The focus will be on improving disease prevention and control, public health monitoring and management of public health emergencies, said Hu.

"The public service function of public hospitals will be strengthened."

A system that covers basic medicines will be set up to drive high medicine prices down, he said.

He also urged Party committees and governments to crack down on illegal practices that endanger public health and safety and called on medical staff to be more aware of their responsibilities.

(Xinhua News Agency October 25, 2006)

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