Visiting WHO chief Margaret Chan sees 'great progress' in China's health system

PUBLISHED : Friday, 11 July, 2014, 9:28pm
UPDATED : Saturday, 12 July, 2014, 4:25am

World Health Organisation director general Dr Margaret Chan Fung Fu-chun shared her dream at the end of her visit to China.

"When I retire from my job and come back to live in China, I'd like to be able to have a well-trained, respected and properly paid family doctor to take care of my health," Chan said as she praised China's investment in training general practitioners.

During her visit, Chan met Premier Li Keqiang , health and family planning chief Li Bin and other senior officials and experts.

Chan spotlighted the importance of a strong primary health-care system to China, with its ageing population and rapidly escalating burden of "lifestyle" diseases such as cancer, cardiovascular disease and diabetes.

Without action and commitment, the burden of these diseases might cancel out economic achievements, she warned.

Chan also praised the "remarkable progress" in health reform, saying that more than 95 per cent of the population was now covered by health insurance, and that people were using health services more than ever.

She noted China's "large and sustained" investment in health reform: from 2001 to 2011, the government share of health expenditure doubled.

If China continued this commitment to health reform, it could offer the world great inspiration and evidence of success, said Chan, a former Hong Kong health director.