In the 19th and 20th centuries, China was once called the “sick man of Asia”, but that dark period was over. Today, China has said goodbye to the problems that have plagued its people for thousands of years, including hunger, shortage and poverty. In just a few decades, China has successfully risen from a closed and relatively backward country to a global economic and political power.
With the rise of China, the outside world began to pay attention to China’s role in global health. This is because China is developing rapidly in all four major areas of global health – health assistance, health security, health governance and health information exchange.
China’s health assistance began in 1963, when it sent its first medical team to Algeria. Now, China has sent foreign aid medical teams to more than 40 African countries, and dozens of other medical teams are distributed in other parts of the south of the world. China’s health assistance adopts the project system, and the most important way is to send medical teams and build medical facilities.
In the past few decades, there have been several global outbreaks of cyclical crises caused by infectious diseases. As President Xi Jinping said in his speech at the United Nations headquarters in Geneva in 2017, these outbreaks “continue to sound an alarm for international health and safety.”. In view of this, China has introduced various measures to detect health threats as early as possible, develop and store vaccines and drugs, establish a more sound health system, provide prevention tools and effective treatment.
The basic idea is to nip new health threats in the bud. Disease control and international cooperation are speeding up to an unprecedented level. Of particular concern is the cooperation between China and WHO (WHO). The two parties join hands to strengthen the construction of health and safety along the “one belt and one road”. China’s response to the Ebola epidemic in Africa in 2014-2015 has been highly praised by who. In addition, it is very important for China to actively solve the problems of commodities, food safety and air pollution, and further strengthen the health and safety of China, its surrounding areas and the world.
Since the beginning of this century, China has played a more active role in global health governance. All health-related specialized agencies of the United Nations, including who, UNICEF, UNFPA, UNAIDS and other multilateral forums in the field of health, can see China’s active participation.
In addition, as the Chinese government stated in the 2017 white paper on public health, China also actively “participates in the construction of the international rules system of health care”. In recent years, China has participated in and hosted many regional and global summits to promote cooperation and fight diseases.
In terms of health information exchange, China has a lot of valuable experience to share with the world, especially China’s amazing achievements in health care. For example, more than 95% of China’s population now has basic medical insurance, and the average life expectancy has increased from 35 in the 1940s to 76.7.
China has made remarkable achievements in controlling tropical diseases, reducing infant mortality, curbing malaria and schistosomiasis, and fighting deadly infectious diseases (especially tuberculosis), which is worth learning and learning from the international community. At the same time, Chinese universities are accelerating research in the field of health policy and expanding cooperation projects with foreign universities.
In a word, after more than 50 years of sending China’s first medical team to Algeria, China has made remarkable leap forward in all fields of global health. At the same time, it is very clear that China can be expected to play an increasingly important role in shaping the global health pattern in the future. As Dr. twardros adanom, who director general, points out, this is good news because “we can all learn from China.”.