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China Makes Suggestions to WHA on Health-related MDGs

Chinese government made suggestions on Monday to the World Health Assembly (WHA) on how to achieve the health-related targets set in the UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

"Achieving the MDGs is not only the solemn pledge made by all governments, but the common responsibilities of the international community," Chinese Minister of Public Health Chen Zhu told the 61st annual Assembly, which opened Monday in Geneva.

Chen said there was still a long way to go to attain the health-related MDGs by 2015 and effective measures should be taken by the world for this end.

According to the minister, the international community should set priorities and highlight Africa and Asia in their efforts for achieving the health-related MDGs.

"Maternal health, prevention and control of HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria, and the environmental health should be prioritized," he told delegates from all 193 member states of the World Health Organization (WHO).

Chen said the strengthening of health system should also be placed at a more important position, as achieving the health-related MDGs increasingly depends on a well-managed health system.

He added that all governments should make more political commitments, improve health-related legislation, and increase investment in health.

Besides, governments should also encourage the participation of civil societies and private sector so as to mobilize the whole society to implement the MDGs.

Chen stressed that developed countries should fulfill their commitments by increasing their financial and technical assistance to developing countries, especially to those in Sub-Sahara Africa and South Asia, while developing countries should strengthen south-south cooperation.

Within the south-south cooperation framework, China will as always do what it can to assist other developing countries in the field of health, he said.

According to the official, the role of the WHO should be given full play in monitoring and guiding the progress toward attaining the health-related MDGs, strengthening health system and coordinating international efforts.

Other international and multilateral organizations as well as bilateral organizations, private foundations and nongovernmental organizations should join hands and consolidate resources so as to form a synergy to maximize outcomes.

"Achieving the health-related MDGs will significantly change the fates of impoverished people in the world," he said, "At this crucial halfway point, let's quicken our pace."

The 61st WHA has made health-related MDGs the theme of its General Debate session.

Topics to be discussed during the six-day conference include pandemic influenza preparedness, prevention and control of noncommunicable diseases, counterfeit medical products, the harmful use of alcohol, female genital mutilation, climate change, poliomyelitis, and smallpox virus stock.

(Xinhua News Agency May 19, 2008)

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