China will continue enhancing international cooperation to safeguard global health security and advance the establishment of a global community of health for all, a Chinese senior official from the National Health Commission (NHC) said at the press conference of the 76th World Health Assembly held on Saturday.
The World Health Assembly, which convenes annually in Geneva, Switzerland, serves as the decision-making body for the World Health Organization (WHO). This year's assembly will take place from May 21 to May 30.
During the assembly, the Chinese delegation will engage in the evaluation of more than 70 proposals related to preparedness and response to public health emergencies, universal health coverage, noncommunicable diseases, and the proposed program budget for 2024–2025, among other topics.
China's global health contributions
Cao Xuetao, deputy director of the NHC and head of the Chinese delegation, highlighted China's active participation in health cooperation initiatives led by international organizations, such as the WHO, and the country's firm supports for the WHO's central role in coordinating global health matters.
Over the years, China has made significant advancements in healthcare, with key health indicators now on par with those of middle- and high-income countries.
The average life expectancy in China rose to 78.2 years in 2021, from 35 years when the country was founded in 1949, according to the NHC.
In an effort to share its best practices, China proactively disseminates knowledge gained from its healthcare development endeavors to the international community, Cao said.
Notably, 2023 marks the 60th anniversary of China dispatching its first medical team abroad. Since then, China has sent medical teams comprising 30,000 members to 76 countries and regions across five continents – Africa, Asia, the Americas, Europe, and Oceania. These teams have provided 290 million diagnoses and treatments to local populations.
Moreover, China has established twinning relationships with 46 hospitals in 41 African countries. The country has conducted free clinics and surgeries for patients suffering from cataracts and heart disease in more than 30 nations, according to Cao's remarks.
In response to the Ebola virus outbreak in Africa from 2014 to 2015, China dispatched over 1,200 medical workers to the affected countries.
Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, China sent 38 expert teams to 34 countries, supplied more than 2.2 billion COVID-19 vaccines to over 120 countries and international organizations, and delivered several hundred billion units of anti-COVID supplies to 153 countries and 15 international organizations, according to NHC spokesperson Hu Qiangqiang. Hu emphasized that international cooperation remains China's unwavering choice in the face of COVID-19. China will continue to collaborate with the global community to tackle health challenges and safeguard the well-being of people across different nations.