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Public Health System Improved

China has significantly increased investments in public health and strengthened efforts in dealing with major public health problems, Chinese deputy health minister Gao Qiang said on Wednesday.


"After the fight against the SARS epidemic last year, we came to realize how important public health was for protecting lives and promoting socioeconomic development," Gao said at the ongoing 57th World Health Assembly (WHA) held here.


At present, a unified, effective, rapid and accurate emergency response system is being put into place and a public health information network connecting urban and rural areas has started to function, said Gao, head of the Chinese delegation at the assembly.


To curb the spread of HIV/AIDS, which is a major public health and social problem for all countries, Gao said the Chinese government has established the National HIV/AIDS Working Committee, clarified roles and responsibilities of various departments and governments at various levels, mobilized resources widely and increased financial input.


The Chinese government has responded actively to the initiative, proposed by the World Health Organization (WHO) and UNAIDS to help three million people in developing countries get access to treatment by the end of 2005, and looks forward to more effective cooperation with the international community, he said.


The WHA is the supreme decision-making body for the WHO. A Taiwan-related proposal tabled by a small number of countries has severely interrupted the normal work of this year's assembly, Gao said.


To grant Taiwan the observer status at the WHA is to challenge the sovereignty and the territorial integrity of China, and "there is no room for our compromise on this issue," he reiterated.


Gao said that the mainland has always been concerned about the health and the well-being of the Taiwan people, and will continue to do so.


"We welcome experts from Taiwan to join the Chinese delegation to the Assembly. We will work with the (WHO) secretariat on how the Taiwan experts can participate in WHO technical exchange activities effectively under the One-China principle," he said.


(Xinnhua News Agency May 20, 2004)

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