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Premier Li welcomes WHO head

By HU YONGQI | China Daily | Updated: 2017-08-19 06:49

Ongoing support from health group sought for new services

Premier Li welcomes WHO head

Premier Li Keqiang meets with WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus on Friday in Beijing. Tedros, elected to the position in May, said he was impressed with the healthcare reforms in China. WU ZHIYI/CHINA DAILY

Premier Li Keqiang called on Friday for ongoing support from the World Health Organization as China accelerates its effort to improve its delivery of basic healthcare and medical services.

The premier sought the support when speaking with WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus of Ethiopia, who is paying his first visit to Beijing. Tedros, who holds a PhD in community health, was elected the eighth WHO director-general for a five-year term in Geneva at the 70th World Health Assembly in May.

Li offered Tedros "a warm welcome" to China and congratulated him on his assumption of the office.

"You are the first African director-general in the almost 70-year history of the WHO. I think this is of high significance for enhancing healthcare for developing countries and improving health conditions of mankind."

Challenges of global healthcare go beyond national boundaries, Li said, as healthcare can benefit all people around the world. The Chinese government actively supports the work of the WHO and would like to strengthen cooperation with the organization as it relates to the Belt and Road Initiative, he said.

The premier said the country has been promoting the "Healthy China" campaign, deepening systematic reforms in medicine and healthcare and striving to provide its people with basic medical and healthcare services.

"I still remember your speech when you visited Ethiopia and the African Union. Thank you so much for your support. And I have a Chinese name now," said Tedros, whose Chinese name is Tan Desai.

The director-general said he was amazed by China's massive, rapid and high-quality healthcare and medicine reform.

Such transformations can be learned by other countries, he said.

Tedros noted the WHO appreciates contributions the Chinese government has made in promoting global healthcare and responding to major public health emergencies, including the Ebola epidemic and H1N1 influenza outbreaks.

The WHO is open to bringing strategic cooperation with China to a higher level and achieving better development of global healthcare, he said.

Li, who also has headed the leading group of deepening healthcare system reform for the State Council since 2013, has had many interactions with WHO officials. On July 28, he met with the former WHO director-general, Margaret Chan Fung Fu-chun, eight months after their meeting in Shanghai during the Ninth Global Conference on Health Promotion.

During that conference, Li pledged that China will continue its participation in a campaign promoting health and that it will provide healthcare aid to other developing countries.

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