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People's Daily Online>>Special Coverage >> China Studies >> Cooperation >> Governance and Policy

National Health Strategy of China—The Construction of the Health Security Emergency System

(People's Daily Online)

16:10, February 01, 2012

Recently, food security events such as illegally recycled waste cooking oil, poisonous powdered milk, meat added with restricted addictives, water-injected meat… have brought great cautions to us, thus the national health needs to be safeguard significantly. In response to the issues, the state and local governments have taken positive measures such as setting up a leading group in charge of food security under the Ministry of Health and the introduction of new regulations on food security.

To build a health society for all, it is an inevitable requirement to construct a modern national sanitation system suitable to the socialist market economy for the purpose of safeguarding all the people’s health to the greatest degree with limited resources. Therefore, it is both necessary and imperative to construct the national health security emergency directing and decision making system based on prevention, as it is the key point to contain the spread of disease and its harm, and to reduce the loss therefore in the face of crisis.

The core component and function of the national health security emergency directing system based on prevention

The prevention-based national health security emergency directing center is the head of the whole system. It is also the directing and processing place in dealing with national emergencies. Supported by the directing center, the directing place could assemble all kinds of resources timely and effectively to control the epidemic situation and cure the illness so as to ease the threats from the health emergencies and control the negative impacts and losses within the smallest area. Meanwhile, when other scourges happen, the emergency directing center can help other directing sections control the situation by providing medical resources and preventing the health security emergencies from happening. In addition, with the health security emergency handling place as the core part, through the daily practice and preparation of the emergency directing center, systems such as environmental protection, safety in production, health education, food security, illness prevention and controlling, medical cure, social security and law supervision can be connected effectively. As a result, the information and resources can be shared nationwide and a “Comprehensive Health” system can be established to reduce the possibility of health security emergencies and guarantee people’s health effectively.

Eight principles of the construction of prevention-based national health security emergency directing and decision-making information system

The construction of the prevention-based national health security emergency directing and decision making information system should observe eight principles. First, it must be prevention-based. The prior goal is to prevent the outburst of a public health emergency and suppressing the possible health security and threat in its infancy. Second, it must suit to China’s national situation. The construction of such a system must fit the perfecting process of the socialist market economy system, the people’s demands for health and its fairness, so as to develop into an important component of modern national economic information system and national emergency management and processing system. Third, in response to the transformation of biological—psychological—social medical model, it should fully reflect the concept of whole society and comprehensive health, jump out of the small circle of “disease prevention and cure”, encourage the whole nation and society to participate, try to fully assemble, use and integrate all kinds of social resources to address health security emergencies calmly. Fourth, long-term construction and self-perfection should be maintained. Fifth, equal importance should be attached to both short-term application and long-term development, to both the construction of long-term crisis management process and of crisis processing capacity. Sixth, it must be a sustainable, highly efficient development, and it must insist on standardization and openness. It must gradually form the standards and regulations of the health security information in China, and finally form the national standards of “health security information alliance of entire population” with our own intellectual property rights and health security characteristics. Seventh, it must be safe and reliable, combining peace time and war time together. Furthermore, the design and construction of the system should meet the requirement of certain safety level so as to make sure the operation of the system is highly reliable and safe. Last, it should suit to the process of sanitation globalization and China’s position as a responsible country and turn into an important component of the new concept of stability of nations, the world and human beings that is China-based and world-connected.

The prevention-based national health security emergency directing and decision making system should be constructed and perfected gradually to become the main body of the national health security system

Strategically, the system can be divided into two parts. The first part is an information gathering, transmission, storing, processing, analyzing, proposal fixing, deciding and starting, directing system with multiplatform and multisystem based on crisis management and crisis processing. It makes the information from those areas including public sanitation, medical treatment, community, social organization, national hinge, environment (geography, meteorology, and food), social security…go through a perfect IT structure and standard to realize the interconnection between the platform and system. The second part applies the data from the national health security supervision system into the national health security service system, which provides a participating and sharing opportunity for all parts in the structure and all the people based on the first part. The important function of this system is not only to make the information serve crisis management and crisis processing in the “war” time, but also to make the information from the entire health security emergency directing and decision making system act during the “peace” time, which could turn negativity into positivity and apply the information into prevention to improve the health security.

The development of the sanitation and economy in China during the 21st century faces uncommon chances and stern challenges. Promoting a “people-oriented” reform of the sanitation and health in China is the core of its reform strategy in this field. As the health security emergencies are usually unexpected, a timely reaction and rapid conduct should be adopted. The prevention-based national health security emergency directing and decision making system is an indispensable component of the healthy country strategy, and it has a very important value for preventing and handling the national health emergencies


1. Clinical interference and illness cure and prevention are limited to a biological concept, which is a concept of “small sanitation”. The health system is a big system decided by many factors. Thus this health system should include psychological, social and some other factors out of the area of the biological definition, namely “comprehensive health”.


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