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China focus on chronic disease prevention

International and local experts in non-communicable diseases (NCDs) converged on Xi’an in Shaanxi Province, China, last week for the Fourth Annual Chronic Disease Forum for the Prevention and Management of Chronic Diseases and a Health Policy Roundtable.

Jointly hosted by The China International Center for Chronic Disease Prevention, The George Institute for Global Health, China, and Xi’an Jiaotong University, the event was also sponsored by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) and UnitedHealth Group.

Professor Lijing Yan, Head of the Research and Development Division at The George Institute, China, and Director of the China International Center for Chronic Disease Prevention, said the Forum and Roundtable was an opportunity to discuss key health issues facing China and the developing world.

“China is undergoing a huge change to its health landscape so discussions that connect health practitioners and researchers together with policy makers are particularly important as we develop responses to prevention and management of NCDs,” she said.

“With rapid economic development come a number of very challenging health problems facing China today and into the future. The impact of NCDs is being increasingly recognised, stalling economic growth, impacting quality of life and burdening under resourced health systems."

“Our discussions reached a consensus on the top three priorities for prevention and control of non-communicable diseases. These priorities are tobacco control, salt reduction and preventing and controlling other risk factors such as high blood pressure and obesity."

“The Forum was an opportunity to raise awareness generally around NCDs and specifically around these priorities. We connected stakeholders involved in this debate so that we could all exchange the latest thinking and research results."

“This provides a very solid foundation for health policy decision makers and reformers.”

With NCDs responsible for 83% of all deaths in China as well as a high incidence in developing countries worldwide, the discussion focused on advances in community based initiatives in non-communicable disease prevention and control and on medical reforms underway in the China health system.

“Outcomes reinforced for us the importance of working with local communities – doctors, leaders and local citizens to raise awareness about the barriers to good health,” Professor Yan said.

The Chronic Disease Forum and Health Policy Roundtable are annual events and jointly supported by the Bureau of Disease Prevention and Control and Department of Maternal and Child Health Care and Community Health in the Chinese Ministry of Health, China Health Education Center, China National Center for Disease Control and Prevention and  Community Health Association of China.