Chinese President Xi Jinping speaks at a national meeting on health held from Aug. 19 to 20 in Beijing, capital of China. (Xinhua/Ma Zhancheng)
BEIJING, Aug. 20 (Xinhua) -- Chinese President Xi Jinping has called for full protection of the people's health, stressing that public health should be given priority in the country's development strategy.
Xi, also general secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, made the remarks at a national meeting on health held in Beijing Friday through Saturday.
"The all-round moderately prosperous society could not be achieved without people's all-round health," Xi said, urging efforts to promote healthy lifestyles, strengthen health services, improve health protection, build healthy environment and develop health-related industries.
Premier Li Keqiang also gave a speech at the meeting. Other senior leaders including Zhang Dejiang, Yu Zhengsheng, Liu Yunshan, Wang Qishan and Zhang Gaoli attended the meeting.
Xi said health is a prerequisite for people's all-round development and a precondition for economic and social development. It is also a common aspiration of all people.
Since its founding, the CPC has paid great attention to the correlation between people's health and national independence and liberation, he said.
The president expressed his respect and thanks to the service and dedication of health workers nationwide in protecting the people's health.
However, he pointed out that facts such as industrialization, urbanization and an aging population, combined with changes in the environment and people's lifestyles, have put the health of Chinese people under multiple and complicated risks.
"China is facing health problems that occur in developing countries as well as developed countries," the president said.
"If these problems are not effectively addressed, people's health may be seriously undermined and economic development and social stability will also be compromised," he said.
Xi stressed that work to ensure people's health should focus on the grassroots and use reform and innovation to create momentum.
He urged the inclusion of health in government policies, to ensure that all people enjoy the health benefits of policies.
Xi called for an improved system and quality of basic medical services so that the public can enjoy accessible and continuous health services which cover prevention, treatment and rehabilitation.
The government should perform its duty in basic medical services, and the market should be vitalized in the fields of non-basic services.
Xi stressed prevention work in the health sector as well as efforts to provide relevant services for people through their entire lives.
Health for young children and young students in the country's less-developed areas should be emphasized alongside the need to provide proper nutrition for their growth, he said, pointing out the need for care of other key groups such as pregnant women, infants and senior citizens.
Xi said a sound environment is the cornerstone of the people's lives and health, stressing that green development must be implemented and the "strictest system of environmental protection" should be adopted.
He noted that reform of the country's health and medicine systems had entered a difficult stage, calling for breakthroughs in modern hospital management, medical insurance, medicine supply, comprehensive supervision, and a diagnosis and treatment mechanism based on the severity of illnesses.
The president particularly stressed the role of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) in promoting people's health, underlining innovation as well as coordinated and complementary development of TCM and Western medicine.
"Efforts should be made to boost the salary and treatment, development space, professional environment and social status of health workers so as to make them more active," Xi said, adding that they should be better cared for both physically and mentally and society should be guided to respect them more.
While urging health workers to stick to professional rules and ethics, Xi ordered a severe crackdown on health-related crimes, especially violence targeting health workers.
According to Xi, local governments are encouraged to draft their own health development plans based on their own situations, and all policies and projects should be "systematically evaluated" to gauge their influence on people's health.
"We will actively participate in research and discussion concerning the making of international standards and criteria for health-related fields, and improve our country's work mechanism to offer assistance in major international public health emergencies," Xi said.
In particular, he vowed to strengthen health cooperation with countries in areas involving the Belt and Road Initiative.
During the meeting, Premier Li urged the devotion of more health resources to rural and impoverished regions, with greater insurance support to relieve the medical spending of patients.
Li called for efforts to support cutting-edge medical research, prevent excessive prescription and treatment, boost medical capacity at grassroots level, encourage health investment from social groups and individuals, reduce medicine costs and relax rules on market entry and talent exchanges.
Calling for "stable and sustainable" investment in health, Li said the government will guide financial institutions to offer greater support to the health industry and strive to make it a pillar industry in the national economy.