III. Infectious Disease Prevention and Treatment, and Health Emergency Management
Since the founding of New China, the Chinese government has persisted in the principle of "prevention first and integrating prevention with treatment" and continuously intensified efforts in the prevention and treatment of infectious diseases. By preventive inoculation, patriotic health campaigns and other prevention and control measures, China has succeeded in bringing down the morbidity of infectious diseases and brought their spread under control. China has basically brought under control the epidemics of such diseases as plague, cholera, kala-azar and leprosy since the 1950s. In 2011, the morbidity of Class A and B infectious diseases was kept at a low level - 241.4 per 100,000 people. All these measures help to safeguard the Chinese people's health and life.
National immunization program has been implemented. The national immunization program represents one of the most notable and influential undertakings of China's healthcare work. In the early 1960s, China eliminated smallpox through vaccine inoculation, a dozen years ahead before the World Health Organization (WHO) announced the eradication of the disease in 1980. China attained the goal of eliminating poliomyelitis in 2000. In 2002, the Chinese government decided to include hepatitis B vaccination for the newborn in the national immunization program, increasing the number of four vaccines against six infectious diseases to five vaccines against seven infectious diseases. In 2007, China decided to further expand the scope of the program, increasing the number of vaccines to 14 to prevent 15 infectious diseases and extending the scope of vaccination from children to including adults. Since the launch of the new round of medical reform, the scope of the national immunization program has kept expanding, and it has played a positive role in reducing the morbidity of infectious diseases and improving the health of the public. Already, the morbidity of most infectious diseases that can be prevented by vaccination has fallen to the lowest level in history.
Major infectious and endemic diseases have been brought under effective control. Patients of many major infectious diseases, such as AIDS, tuberculosis, snail fever, hydatid disease, leprosy and malaria, are provided medicines and treatment free of charge. In 2011, China's living HIV-infected persons and AIDS patients were estimated at 780,000, far below China's goal of controlling the HIV-infected population within 1.5 million. The morbidity of infectious tuberculosis has fallen to only 66 per 100,000 people, attaining the goal defined in the UN Millennium Development Goals ahead of time. All counties where epidemics of snail fever used to break out have attained the goal of bringing under control such epidemics, limiting the number of snail fever patients to 326,000. China took the lead in eradicating filariasis among the 83 countries where epidemics of filariasis hit. China keeps improving its capabilities of influenza control and prevention, taking monitoring at the major task. In 2010, the National Influenza Center of the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention was officially nominated the fifth WHO Collaboration Center for Reference and Research on Influenza. China steadily promotes endemic disease prevention and treatment. It has eradicated the diseases caused by iodine deficiency at the national level, and brought under effective control of Kashin-Beck disease, Keshan disease and fluorine poisoning, notably reducing the incidence of these diseases.
Patriotic health campaign has gained fruitful results. Patriotic health campaign, an invention of China that has been in existence for 60 years so far, is a social welfare undertaking featuring massive public participation and a close relationship with the public health. Following the principle of taking prevention first, the campaign has reduced the hazards of infectious diseases and promoted the public health through a series of measures, such as exterminating pests, health education and promotion, improving rural water supply and sanitation, building "healthy cities and towns," and improving the environmental hygiene in both urban and rural areas. A wholesome atmosphere is taking shape, with everyone participating in the campaign and enjoying a healthy lifestyle. Now, China is exploring a better working mechanism for building "healthy cities and towns," based on the 153 cities, 32 districts and 456 towns (counties) that have been nominated "healthy" for their wholesome surroundings.
Health emergency management capability has been enhanced. China is striving to make its health emergency management more standard and law-based by issuing the Law on Emergency Management and the Regulations on Preparedness for and Response to Public Health Emergencies, and amending the Law on the Prevention and Treatment of Infectious Diseases. Based on the disease prevention and control system, the public health monitoring system and the medical service system, China has basically set up a response system for public health emergencies featuring unified leadership, reasonable distribution, quick response, efficient operation and powerful logistics. China has established and improved health emergency plans, which cover the prevention and control of such public health emergencies as acute infectious disease emergencies, diseases with unknown causes and poisoning incidents, medical rescue in case of natural disasters, disastrous accidents and terrorist attacks, and medical services for important events. A four-level emergency management system has been established that covers the national, provincial, city and county levels. Also has been established is the public health emergency response ability assessment system. The central government has organized 27 teams for health emergencies to respond to four categories of incidents, namely, infectious disease control, medical rescue, poisoning treatment, and nuclear and radiation accident handling. Local governments have also set up professional teams to handle health emergencies at their respective levels. China's medicine reserve system keeps improving, ensuring sufficient supply of medicines for health emergencies. In the past few years, China has successfully dealt with many public health emergencies, especially pandemic threats of infectious diseases, including SARS, H1N1, plague and avian influenza, carried out urgent medical rescues for the 2008 Wenchuan earthquake in Sichuan Province, 2010 Yushu earthquake in Qinghai Province and 2010 Zhouqu mudslide in Gansu Province, and provided medical services for the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games and 2010 Shanghai Expo.
Online direct report system has been enforced for notifiable infectious diseases and public health emergencies. The online direct report system, which puts the 39 infectious diseases defined by law and public health emergencies under real-time and online surveillance, was not available in China until 2004. By 2011, the online direct reporting of infectious diseases had been extended to all disease prevention and control institutes, 98% of medical institutions at and above the county level, and 94% of township clinics in China.