Agency works on new population issues
( 2003-08-08 09:06) (China Daily)
China's 150,000 family planning staff are being trained to handle a range of new population issues including an ageing society, HIV/AIDS, and reproductive health, officials said.
The State Family Planning and Population Commission is now developing a national satellite training network to upgrade the skills of its employees, said Xiao Shaobo, director of the commission's department of science and technology.
With the help of satellite broadcasts, even grass-roots staff can receive training and information directly from experts organized by the commission, said Xiao. Almost all of China's towns are expected to have satellite receivers by the end of 2005.
The training programme will cover family planning laws, public health, HIV/AIDS prevention, community services, technology and even how to help farmers and laid-off workers earn a living.
"Through the three-year training plan, we want our employees to develop well-rounded skills, to attend to multiple tasks and services for residents," Xiao told China Daily.
Xiao said the training campaign is vital if the commission is to prepare its staff to provide more than just family planning services, so they can manage broader population issues.
The commission is organizing experts to research and draft a medium- and long-term strategy for population development, trying to solve the conflicts between population and the economy, society, resources and the environment, Xiao added.
In March, the central government added "population" to the commission's former name, the State Family Planning Commission, signalling that the country has begun paying more attention to the sustainable development of the country's population.
The training programme will highlight China's various laws and regulations on population and family planning to better protect people's reproductive health rights, including the right to choose contraceptive measures.
As China faces a growing population problem, it should maintain the present low-level birth rate. Over the next decade or more, the Chinese population will increase by 10 million annually.
China is also ageing, with 10 per cent of its residents now aged 60 years or more. Its number of senior citizens is increasing at a rate of 3 per cent annually.
As a developing country with nearly 1.3 billion residents, China faces a great challenge in providing for the aged since most people, especially in rural areas, have no insurance for their later years.
The migration of millions of rural workers into the cities in search of a living also creates more work for governments, such as educating their children and preventing the spread of infectious diseases.
Family planning employees should also take responsibility for preventing HIV/AIDS and other infectious diseases as part of their work to protect people's reproductive health.
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