Public health deserves wide attention and respect, vice health minister

13:23, November 08, 2010      

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Hosted by the Ministry of Health and Tsinghua University, the Fifth China Health Communication Conference kicked off in Beijing on Nov. 5. Building on four years of success, the goal of the conference this time is to promote the ideas and practice of "healthy behavior and a healthy society."

The Fifth China Health Communication Conference and the Tsinghua Public Health Science Conference serve as a platform for social elites in politics, medicine, media, life sciences and business to conduct a free exchange of ideas and opinions. The convergence of theoretical research and practical experiences is expected to produce constructive proposals that will promote the development of public health communication and the public health industry in China as well as global public health.

The conference, which is slated for three days from Nov. 4 to Nov. 6, brings medical genius from around the world to discuss the latest biomedical studies and cutting-edge life science theories. The purpose of the conference is to focus on solving major scientific challenges, supporting more policy research implementation, promoting risk communication and contributing practical solutions to controlling the spread of severe infectious diseases in a timely and effective way.

While addressing the opening ceremony, Vice Minister of Health Yin Li said that it was an inevitable trend for human to pay increasing attention to health, the fundamental impetus for social and economic development. The investment in health is regarded as the input for sustainable development. Despite the tremendous achievement in the cause of public health since 1949, there is still a long way to go for China to narrow the gap in the public health sector with its Western counterparts. Since diseases spread beyond borders, health issues are often associated with social problems.

Yin noted in his speech that the national immunization program is the cornerstone of public health. Thanks to effective vaccination, a major preventive measure in controlling great varieties of infectious pathogens, smallpox was eliminated worldwide in 1979, and China proudly announced the elimination of poliomyelitis in 2000. Vaccination has played a decisive role in containing contagious diseases and promoting human health.

Yin also stressed the importance of health communication, particular the role media should play in this sector. Public health deserves wide attention and respect. With life science technology, the conference calls on all participants to explore health communication and the media should inform the public about the development and process of public health. Communication between scientists and the general public should be more open and timely, and effective health education should be the way to draw more public attention to the cause of public health.

The China Health Communication Conference has been held by the Ministry of Health and Tsinghua University since 2006. The fifth conference this year, a part of the activities to celebrate the centennial anniversary of Tsinghua University, brought some 300 experts and scholars from global leading medical and life science institutions, such as Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Save the Children Program, Pfizer Inc., Xian-Janssen Pharmaceutical Ltd., Bayer China, Tsinghua University as well as the Chinese Centre for Disease Control and Prevention.

By Zhang Xinyi, People's Daily Online


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