The director-general elect of the World Health Organization (WHO) has praised
China's efforts to improve its public health systems.
"China has made great progress
in building a public disease surveillance and prevention system and has made a
huge investment in the field of public health since the 2003 SARS (severe acute
respiratory syndrome) outbreak," Margaret Chan told China Daily Tuesday.
Margaret Chan, the newly-elected World Health Organization
(WHO) chief, comes out of a meeting room after talks with Premier Wen
Jiabao and Minister of Health Gao Qiang (left) at the Great Hall of the
People in Beijing yesterday. Wen told the former Hong Kong health chief,
on her first visit to the mainland after her WHO election, that China is
keen to work with the WHO in disease prevention and control as well as
information sharing. [newsphoto]
"I've noticed that the Chinese Government has made unremitting efforts to
improve medical services, especially for the rural population and disadvantaged
urban groups," Chan said.
"They have chosen a very good work priority," she added.
Chan was speaking after a meeting with Premier Wen Jiabao. "I was reminded by
Premier Wen that my duty as director-general of the WHO is to serve all members
of the WHO," Chan said.
During the meeting, Wen pledged to further strengthen co-operation with the
world health body.
Wen said China will work with the WHO in disease prevention and control,
information sharing and construction of public health systems.
He stated that China had established sound co-operative relations with the
WHO, and would continue to support and maintain close ties with the
"The Chinese Government has attached great importance to public health, and
has set promoting the overall level of Chinese people's health as a priority,"
Wen told Chan.
He noted that China has set up a nationwide disease prevention and control
system and medical treatment system for public health emergencies in recent
years. Now the country can release epidemic information in a prompt, open, and
transparent way and can effectively curb the spread of infectious diseases.
The two sides also discussed efforts China has made to facilitate medical
care system reform, establish a new rural co-operative medical service, and
improve urban community medical care.
Wen congratulated Chan for her success in the election for WHO
director-general, which made her the first Chinese national to head a United
Wen had earlier described Chan as the "best person" to head the agency.
Appointed by the World Health Assembly on November 9, 2006, Chan will take
office on January 4.
According to her 2007-12 mandate, Chan will focus on Africa as well as
Chan was previously WHO assistant director-general for communicable diseases
and representative of the director-general for Pandemic Influenza.
Prior to joining the WHO, she was director of health in Hong Kong. During her
nine-year tenure Chan confronted the first human outbreak of H5N1 avian
influenza in 1997, and successfully defeated SARS in Hong Kong in