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
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
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
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
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)