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Health ministry to hold monthly press conference
Updated: 2005-12-28 08:46

Starting from 2006, the Ministry of Health (MOH) will release news at a given date every month, Health Minister Gao Qiang said in Beijing on Tuesday.

As of Jan. 1, 2006, MOH will hold a news conference at 10 a.m. of the 10th day of each month, or the next working day if the 10th is a holiday or a weekend, said Gao at a meeting with major Chinese media including Xinhua News Agency, the People's Daily and China Central Television.

At news conferences, the spokesperson and relevant officials of MOH will answer questions from journalists on major health events, Gao said. Meanwhile, MOH will also release breaking or significant public health news on an irregular basis, he said.

Health is always a major concern for the public. Medical reform,drug safety and epidemic scares often dominate the frontpages of newspapers and are topics of everyday conversation, said MOH spokesman Mao Qun'an.

"Thus the ministry needs to give prompt, concise information tothe public on the public health sector, so as to eliminate doubts and misunderstandings and kill rumors as well," Mao told Xinhua.

In 2005, the MOH information office held 47 news conferences and arranged more than 380 interviews for journalists, while in 2004, it held 40 news conferences and accepted 218 interview requests from the media.

"Our news release mechanism has improved a lot since the SARS crisis and the outbreak of H5N1 avian influenza. We will try to do better in the future," said Mao.

MOH set up its information office in 2000 and its spokesman started speaking to the media in March 2004. Regular reports on infectious diseases and news releases on public health emergencies began in 2004.

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