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China Asserts Public Health As Human Right

Xinhua: The Chinese government on Friday published a white paper on public health, stressing that health is a precondition for the survival of humanity and the development of human society.

Released by the State Council Information Office, the white paper, titled “Development of China’s Public Health as an Essential Element of Human Rights,” introduced facts about the development of public health as an essential element of human rights in China.

The right to health is a basic human right rich in connotations and the guarantee for a life of dignity, according to the white paper.

Everyone is entitled to the highest standard of health, equally available and accessible, it said.

According to the white paper, the average life expectancy of the Chinese rose to 76.5 years in 2016 from 67.9 years in 1981.

Maternal mortality dropped from 88.9 per 100,000 persons in 1990 to 19.9 per 100,000 persons in 2016 and infant mortality declined from 34.7 per 1,000 in 1981 to 7.5 per 1,000 in 2016, figures from the document showed.

“The main health indicators of the Chinese are generally better than the average level of middle- and high-income countries and China has achieved the United Nation’s Millennium Goals in this regard ahead of schedule,” the white paper said.

China has also established a complete medical and health system that is guided by the Constitution, based on civil laws and regulations, laws and administrative regulations on health, and local regulations, and directed by the outlines, programs, and plans of the health sector.

The medical system has proved effective in maintaining sound doctor-patient relations, addressing medical disputes with impartiality, and ensuring citizens’ right to health, according to the white paper.

The reform of the medical sector has produced noticeable results, it said.

Within a short period of time, China was able to achieve the following: developing the world’s largest basic medical insurance network that covers all citizens, providing insurance for patients against serious diseases, enabling patients to receive emergency medical services and improving medical assistance.

A basic medical services network covering both urban and rural areas across China has been put in place, with 980,000 medical and health institutions at all levels, 11 million health workers, and 7 million beds at medical institutions, according to the white paper.

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