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China to upgrade service network for work-related illnesses

(Xinhua)

08:45, April 17, 2012

BEIJING, April 16 (Xinhua) -- The Ministry of Health (MOH) said on Monday that it will upgrade a service network for the prevention and treatment of occupational diseases in line with a newly-amended law.

China's top legislature adopted an amendment to the Law on Occupational Illness Prevention and Control on Dec. 31, 2011 in order to better protect the legal rights of workers.

The amendment specifically requires governments at all levels to strengthen their ability to prevent and control work-related illnesses, as well as establish a comprehensive service system.

However, 44 percent of provincial jurisdictions have yet to comply with the initiative, according to a circular published Monday on the ministry's website.

It also noted that 27 percent of prefecture-level regions lack the ability to diagnose and verify occupational diseases, while 43 percent of all counties cannot provide adequate occupational health evaluations.

In response, the MOH called for more financial and policy support from governments at multiple levels.

The circular also addressed other issues, including China's national occupational disease monitoring system.

China currently has 120 dedicated stations across the country to monitor occupational diseases. However, the data collected from the stations is often incomplete or untimely, said the circular.

The MOH has instructed health authorities across the country to fully utilize modern communication tools like the Internet, text messaging and microblogs to give the public a better look at the newly-amended law.

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