Vice Minister of Health Gao Qiang told a press conference in Beijing Friday that over the past number of months the Chinese government has taken the following eight measures to prevent the spread of the SARS epidemic in the country.
These measures are:
1. Improving health legislation and managing SARS according to law. The Chinese government included SARS in the list of notifiable infectious diseases and SARS was managed according to the law of prevention and control of infectious diseases. The State Council issued the Regulations of Public Health Emergency Response and the Ministry of Health formulated the Protocols of SARS Management. The disease reporting system was improved and prevention and treatment measures were enhanced. The local government was required to detect and report the epidemic accurately and manage the epidemic according to law.
2. Enhancing organization and leadership and establishing unified coordination and command. The State Council established SARS prevention and control headquarters headed by Vice Premier Wu Yi. Local governments of various levels gave SARS control the utmost priority. Responsibilities were clarified and resources were pooled together for central command. All medical resources were integrated and control measures were scaled up.
3. Controlling SARS in rural areas by mobilizing the public. Stringent surveillance measures were put in place to monitor farmers and students who were returning to their hometowns from cities, so as to cut off transmission. As of today, a total number of 241 clinically confirmed cases are farmers and there has not been a large-scale spread in rural areas.
4. Enhancing travel quarantine and establishing passenger follow-up mechanisms. Civil aviation, railways, boats and long-distance buses all introduced passenger surveillance, registration and follow-up systems. SARS patients, once found, were immediately isolated to cut off transmission.
5. Mobilizing optimal resources to treat patients. Fever clinics were established in hospitals that have good conditions so as to differentiate patients. Special hospitals were designated for SARS treatment to reduce hospital infection.
6. Treating SARS patients through the integration of western medicine and traditional Chinese medicine to improve treatment quality. Experts of western medicine and traditional Chinese medicine were organized to study effective treatment regimes so as to improve the recovery rate.
7. Increasing government investment and providing medical assistance. The central government and local governments have allocated more than 10 billion yuan to purchase medical supplies, drugs and protective materials and treat farmers and urban residents who have financial difficulties, free of charge. In future more financial resources will be allocated to strengthen disease control, the information network and medical assistance.
8. Developing technical exchange and enhancing scientific research. China has maintained good cooperative relations with the WHO and many countries, constantly exchanging information with them to improve its work. In addition, the mainland has developed academic exchanges with medical experts from Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan to share diagnosis and treatment experience and to work together on effective treatment and prevention of SARS.
(China.org.cn May 30, 2003)