China aims to limit its HIV-infected population to 1.5 million or less by 2010.
It also plans to keep the annual growth rate of venereal diseases to below 10 percent, and cure more than two million people suffering from tuberculosis.
The aims are listed in the 11th Five-Year Plan (2006-10) on national health.
Prepared by the Ministry of Health (MOH) and published on the central government website (www.gov.cn) yesterday, the plan outlines a wide range of critical health objectives.
The ministry seeks to raise citizens' average life expectancy to 72.5 years, a six-month increase from 2005; cut the infant mortality rate by 21.6 percent to below 14.9 percent, reduce the mortality rate of children under 5 to 17.7 percent, and decrease the maternal mortality rate to 40 per 100,000 live births.
It also aims to achieve an immunization rate of more than 95 percent for children in urban areas and more than 90 percent in rural areas.
These objectives are set against serious health issues at present, according to the plan.
AIDS, for example, has begun to spread from the high-risk population to the general population.
While current statistics on the number of China's HIV/AIDS carriers vary, experts have warned it could hit 10 million by 2010 if correct measures are not taken.
China now has more than 4.5 million TB patients, 16 million mental illness cases, and a rising number of people affected by job-related illnesses.
About 200 million people suffer from major chronic illnesses, such as cerebrovascular disease, heart disease, diabetes, as well as trauma and toxicosis.
Death from these diseases make up more than 80 percent of all deaths.
The report said significant progress was made during the 10th Five-Year Plan (2001-05), particularly in the areas of major disease control and prevention, rural cooperative healthcare, and the urban community medical system.
The plan said that a response system to public health emergencies had been basically set up by the end of 2005.
The establishment of an effective epidemic report mechanism is the main reason China has avoided major public health scares since the SARS outbreak, MOH spokesman Mao Qun'an said last week.
Before spring 2003, more than 20 days would elapse before a serious case was reported to the China center for diseases control and prevention (CDC), Mao said.
"And what the CDC would receive was a mere statistic instead of an epidemic report."
Since then, instant epidemic report networks have been set up. Now it takes local CDCs virtually no time to receive detailed symptoms and personal information of each patient.
Much time is saved for medical experts, who are able to discover and monitor epidemic trends in time to prevent large outbreaks. However, the report said from a wider perspective, a growing disparity between rural and urban public health systems "is posing grave challenges" for China.
A majority of AIDS, TB and hepatitis patients reside in the countryside, where people suffering from infectious and chronic diseases are not isolated from other patients.
"This reflects that our public health system is still not healthy enough," Mao said, "and the increasing medical service gap between urban and rural areas and between different social groups is a challenge to the construction of a harmonious society."
China will "strive to realize the goal that everyone equally enjoys basic health coverage" by 2010, the plan said.
(China Daily May 31, 2007)