China is now forming a new AIDS prevention and control mechanism, in which non-governmental organizations (NGOs) will play an important role, Hao Yang, an official with the Disease Control Department of the Health Ministry, said Tuesday.
Speaking at the launch meeting of the Global AIDS Program, Hao said that the new mechanism is under the leadership of the government, with the cooperation of all departments and the participation of society as a whole.
According to statistics from the Health Ministry, China currently has around 840,000 HIV-carriers. However, experts warn that the number will grow to 10 million by 2010 unless effective measures are taken.
The Chinese government will strengthen communication and cooperation with NGOs, making them play an important role in China's AIDS prevention and control, said the official.
The flexibility of NGOs will make it easier for them to carry out AIDS-related activities like voluntary publicity, free education and condom distribution, Hao said.
The central government will provide more financial support for China's NGOs, he said, and will invite public bidding for certain projects, encouraging more NGOs to participate in AIDS prevention and control work.
Henk Bekedam, the World Health Organization's (WHO) representative in China, said NGOs in China should learn from their western counterparts to make every effort for AIDS-related publicity under the strong support of the government, earning fame for themselves while winning the recognition and respect of society.
"The WHO always supports China's AIDS prevention and care," said Bekedam. "And we shall also pay close attention to NGOs working in this field and give out our help as much as possible."
The WHO will help establish a complete database of China's HIV-carriers, said Bekedam, not only including all the information about them, but also following up on their treatment and the protection of their rights.
(Xinhua News Agency April 14, 2004)