China / Society

China's progress on health reform 'remarkable'

By Shan Juan ( Updated: 2014-07-09 17:44

China has made remarkable progress with health reform in recent years, and more than 95 percent of the country's population is now covered by health insurance, said World Health Organization Director-General Margaret Chan.

"It is critical that the government of China continue with, and accelerate, its current health care reforms, to build a health system to address major current and future health challenges," Chan said at a news conference on Wednesday.

"These are remarkable achievements. However, further action and investment is critical — in particular, through the expansion of primary and community health care services, and improved linkages between primary health services and hospitals to deliver integrated patient-centered care."

Other topics on the agenda during Chan's trip to China include tobacco control, chronic diseases and tuberculosis. "Every year, more than 1 million people die as a result of tobacco-related illness. This is a terrible statistic. China needs to take urgent action to strengthen its tobacco control policies, to turn these kinds of terrible statistics around," she said.

According to Chan, the policies contained in the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control — smoke-free environments, bans on tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship, graphic warnings on tobacco packs and higher taxes — are proven to work. "They just need to be implemented," she said.

"Without action and commitment, the burden of non-communicable disease in China will simply be devastating in the future."

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