Speech at the Opening Ceremony of the 9th Global Conference on Health Promotion
H.E. Li Keqiang, Premier of the State Council of the People’s Republic of China
Shanghai, 21 November 2016
Dr. Margaret Chan, Director-General of the World Health Organization,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Health is a cornerstone for the comprehensive development and well-being of the people and a hallmark of national prosperity and social progress. On the occasion of the 9th Global Conference on Health Promotion, I wish to extend, on behalf of the Chinese government, warm congratulations on the opening of the conference and sincere welcome to all the distinguished guests.
This conference coincides with the 30th anniversary of the first International Conference on Health Promotion. Three decades ago, the Ottawa Charter introduced the concept of “health promotion”, which has since guided the development of the health cause worldwide. Three decades on, thanks to the joint efforts of countries around the world and the hard work of the World Health Organization (WHO), the world average life expectancy has increased by over eight years. Maternal and infant mortality rate and that of children under five have been lowered by 50% on average, which is a big milestone in the history of human health.
At the same time, we should be aware that we are still confronted with daunting global health challenges. While traditional diseases, health issues and inequality in health remain acute, faster aging of the population, greater trans-border flows of people, the evolving spectrum of disease and changing environment and lifestyles are creating new problems. The threat of multiple diseases and our vulnerability to health risks have both risen. The sluggish world economic recovery and divergent trends of economic growth have added to the difficulty of ensuring the effective supply and the balanced and reasonable allocation of health resources. Promoting health remains an arduous task and nothing short of concerted international efforts is required for truly delivering the goal of “health for all”.
This year marks the start of the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The theme of this conference “health promotion in the sustainable development goals” highlights the important role of health promotion in global sustainable development endeavor. Discussions around this theme will go a long way to promoting consensus building and synergy for the full implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). In this connection, I would like to put forward the following suggestions.
– We should enhance policy dialogue and build a platform for health governance cooperation. Health promotion is the common endeavor of mankind. We should together build a community of shared future and take concrete actions to advance cooperation. We need to build a multilevel and wide-ranging institutional platform for dialogue and cooperation and support the WHO’s efforts to lead, coordinate and implement global health programs. Efforts should also be made to improve health legislation in our respective countries and tighten regulation on health-impairing investment and trading activities through fiscal, taxation and financial policy tools.
At the same time, we need to uphold the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities and increase the representation and voice of developing countries. Developed countries should shoulder more responsibility and support developing countries. We should work together to make global health governance fairer and more reasonable.
– We should put in place an inclusive and interconnected system for prevention and control of global public health hazards. No country can stay immune to major public health challenges. Countries need to better coordinate health emergency practices, improve global mechanisms for disease surveillance, early-warning and emergency response, strengthen notification, information sharing and personnel training, and further improve global capacity to address public health emergencies. The Chinese government supports the WHO in putting together its global health emergency task force and contingency fund. We urge developed countries to step up support to developing countries in improving their public health systems, and together build up stronger lines of defense for global health.
– We should enhance the capacity for health supply and services through cooperation on innovation. Scientific and technological innovation is the golden key to health. Countries need to enhance research and development of health technologies, actively conduct bilateral and multilateral cooperation, including joint research on frontier and innovative technologies, and tackle common health hazards facing mankind together. We need to expand the network for exchange and cooperation in such areas as the prevention and control of antimicrobial resistance (AMR), advanced health technologies, drug research and development, energy-saving, emissions reduction and the treatment of pollution, and build platforms for entrepreneurship and innovation. There should be wider application and sharing of scientific and technological progress to bring greater benefits to more people.
– We should encourage mutual learning and promote greater integration between traditional and modern medical sciences. Throughout history, different countries and nations have developed their own views of health and acquired distinct strengths in the form of traditional medicine. Differences in medical practices should be embraced with equality and open-mindedness, and cultural exchanges be encouraged as a useful way to promote health cooperation. We should encourage mutual learning on the views and culture of health. We need to better promote traditional medicine, make better use of their strengths in preventing and treating diseases, and actively develop services trade in traditional medicine. By leveraging the complementarity between traditional and modern medical sciences, we will make new contribution to human health.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
China has been a strong advocate and firm practitioner of health promotion. Since the founding of the People’s Republic, in particular since reform and opening-up, China has vigorously expanded health care services despite a relatively underdeveloped economy. We have significantly improved the health of our people, and found a path of health development consistent with China’s national conditions. In 2009, China started a new round of health care reform. We identified a core objective, which is to offer basic health care services to all people as a public good, and outlined the principle of ensuring basic levels of health care, strengthening community health services and building up health care networks.
Important progress has been made in this direction. We put in place a system of basic medical insurance that covers the entire population of over 1.3 billion people, offering institutional guarantee for universal access. We improved basic rural health service network at county, township and village levels and the system of urban community health services, making such services more convenient and accessible for our people. We took vigorous measures to promote equal access to public health services and offered basic public health services for all urban and rural residents for free. Our spending on public health services has been growing year by year and will continue to grow. We worked out a Chinese solution to advance health care reform, which is a world-wide challenge.
China’s average life expectancy now stands at 76.3 years. Maternal mortality rate was reduced to 20.1 per 100,000 and infant mortality rate 8.1 per 1,000, generally better than the average level in middle and high income countries. For the largest developing country with over 1.3 billion people, such accomplishments are no mean feat.
China is at a decisive stage for building a moderately prosperous society in all respects. At the recently held National Health Conference, the first in the new century, President Xi Jinping outlined in an important speech the overall guidelines, targets and tasks for building a healthy China from a strategic and overarching perspective and proposed principles for health-related work. We will focus on the grassroots, pursue reform and innovation as a driving force and disease prevention as the priority, give importance to both traditional Chinese medicine and western medicine, incorporate health into all policy-making, and strive for participation by all and benefits to all. We promulgated the Outline of Healthy China 2030 Plan with the aim to provide all-dimensional, whole-of-the-life-cycle health services for all by 2030, increase average life expectancy to 79 years, and reach high-income countries’ level in main health indicators. With this in mind, we will make relentless efforts in the following areas: