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|Wednesday, April 11, 2001, updated at 15:14(GMT+8)|
China Sets up Funds Fighting ArthritisChina's Ministry of Health Tuesday set up funds worth 10 million yuan (US$1.2 million) to help the country prevent and fight against arthritis.
Two world-leading pharmaceutical giants, Pharmacia and Pfizer Pharmaceuticals Ltd., will make donations for the funds over the next five years, with 2 million yuan poured into activities every year.
At the signing ceremony for the establishment of the funds between the ministry and the two companies, Minister of Health Zhang Wenkang described the founds as a move helping improve people's health, which is a principal base for social and economic development.
"As a serious chronic disease, arthritis badly endangers people 's health," he said. "Therefore, it is significant to improve Chinese people's consciousness to fight against the disease."
Qi Guoming, chief of the ministry's science and education department, called for nationwide attention to the disease which might disable patients.
In 2001, the funds will support advanced education among medical workers on the disease, academic research of the Chinese Medical Association (CMA), and medical knowledge publication among common people.
The ministry last year launched a nationwide campaign for the first time on the disease on World Arthritis Day, which falls on October 12.
Statistics show that more than 355 million people in the world suffer from arthritis and rheumatoid arthritis, and China has over 100 million.
Half of the people over 50 years old in China are suffering from arthritis. Meanwhile, rheumatoid arthritis might shorten 10 to 15 years off the life expectancy of sufferers.
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