From Xinhua News Agency, May 13, 2021. Complete text:
Beijing – China on Thursday [May 13] inaugurated a national administration of disease prevention and control, with five major functions including formulating policies for the prevention and control of infectious diseases.
The establishment of the administration signals the expansion of the roles of disease prevention and control agencies from preventing and containing diseases to comprehensively safeguarding and promoting the health of the entire population, according to an official statement.
The administration is a vice-ministerial level agency managed by the National Health Commission (NHC), the statement said.
It will be tasked with formulating policies for the prevention and control of infectious diseases and for public health supervision.
The administration will steer the development of the disease prevention and control system, the epidemic monitoring and early warning system, and the scientific research system for disease control.
It will also be responsible for the supervision and management of public health and the supervision of infectious disease prevention and control, according to the statement.
Wang Hesheng was appointed as head of the administration by the State Council. He was a former deputy director of the NHC and was appointed as the director of the Hubei provincial health commission in February 2020 when the province was hit hard by COVID-19.
Vice Premier Sun Chunlan attended the inauguration ceremony of the administration and delivered a speech. She underlined the importance of reforming and improving the disease prevention and control system to safeguard people’s health and national security.
Efforts should be made to streamline systems and mechanisms, clarify functions and improve professional competence to build an authoritative and efficient disease containment system with strong leadership, Sun said.
She urged efforts to establish relevant institutions at the national, provincial, prefectural and county levels, while strengthening the leadership of the higher-level disease prevention and control agencies over the lower-level ones and improving their work coordination.
Sun also called for setting up a network of tiered and classified public health emergency response teams, developing new mechanisms for enhancing coordination between disease prevention and control agencies and hospitals, boosting scientific research in the field and improving the consultation system for decision making.
The establishment of the national administration of disease prevention and control marks a key step toward deepening reform of the country’s disease prevention and control system. It will accelerate fixing the loopholes in the public health system and enhance the country’s epidemic response capacity, experts said.