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Shanghai Public Health Improvement Action Plan 2011-2013

The Shanghai Municipal Government Information Office held a press conference on January 4 to introduce the city’s Public Health Improvement Action Plan 2011-2013. Following is the highlights.

Xu Jianguang, director of Shanghai Municipal Public Health Bureau Wang Panshi, inspector of Shanghai Municipal Public Health Bureau

Shanghai Evening Post:The action plan indicates that traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) will play a big role in disease control and prevention and a TCM demonstration base will be established. I’d like to know what is the role of TCM in the city’s current health care system? Will TCM treatment be included in the medical insurance system on a broader scale this year? Wang Panshi:TCM has always played an active role in Shanghai’s disease control and prevention, as well as in the treatment of major epidemics like SARS in 2003. TCM has remarkable effects on disease control and prevention. It is a treasure house for our country and Shanghai should tap its great resources.

We think TCM works pretty well in preventive medicine. We will try to promote TCM at the community level and let it play a bigger role in public health care. Xu Jianguang:As western medicine has its advantages in diagnose and treatment, TCM is more functional in health care and disease prevention. Many Shanghai citizens favor TCM for its good effect and low cost. TCM is especially effective in the treatment of many chronic diseases. Therefore in the next three years we will establish more TCM clinics in local communities.

Eastday:I have a question for Mr Xu. You just mentioned that Shanghai has a 42+3 health care program. If local residents need to know more about this program, where can they find detailed information? Also, could you disclose how many new items the action plan contains? Xu:Shanghai residents can find detailed information by dialing 12320 or visiting the official website of Shanghai Health Bureau. Our public health organizations also have the obligation to inform the public of relevant policies and knowledge. For example, parents of newborn babies can learn from their local community clinics when to get free vaccination for their babies.

Wang:The action plan was adopted only last month and it takes time to reach the grassroots. You can dial 12320 or contact public health institutions to get information. However, regarding the 42 items in the 9+3 categories as indicated in the program, you will be informed by medical staff in your local community even if you stay at home. The community clinics know what kind of services you need and they provide these services for free. CCTV-12:Last year the city published a draft mental health law to seek public opinions. What is Shanghai’s reaction to this law and what measures it is considering for mental disease prevention and treatment?

Wang:Shanghai is the first city in China to promulgate a local law on mental health and has achieved positive effects in implementing this law, which stipulates the whole process of hospital admission of mentally-ill patients, including support for those with financial difficulties. The law has contributed to social stability and family harmony. We have also established an effective guardian system for mentally-ill patients. All the policies and services will be perfected in the new round of health legislation. Needy families with a mentally-ill patient can enjoy free medicine and treatment as those covered by government subsidies.

Besides, we are also improving the administration of mental hospitals and the guardian system through law amendments. Last year we cooperated with various law enforcement departments, including the Municipal Federation for the Disabled, the Civil Affairs Bureau and the Public Security Bureau to improve the city’s mental health work.