City ‘demonstrates the future of health’ for the world to follow


SHANGHAI has become a “leading example of a Healthy City” the World Health Organization director-general Margaret Chan said on the sidelines of the conference that concluded in the city yesterday.

As one of China’s most dynamic cities, Shanghai had demonstrated great leadership by hosting the conference and creating a smoke-free indoor environment for the city’s more than 20 million inhabitants, Chan said.

“Shanghai is therefore an excellent choice of location for the conference and the international mayors’ forum,” she added, praising the city government’s efforts, especially on health promotion at the community level.

She wrapped up the conference in a speech thanking local citizens and government for hosting the event and called it a “great success.” Participants, including ministers and mayors from across the world, were inspired by the conference, she said.

Led by the World Health Organization (WHO), the conference convenes every four years and rotates the host cities.

This year, 1,200 participants,including WHO officials and experts, health ministers and city mayors and health officials‚ gathered from 126 countries and regions. Solutions for a number of serious issues concerning global health promotion and equality were discussed, with China playing a central role.

A significant public health challenge that people faced globally, and especially in China, was tackling the rise of non-communicable diseases — with tobacco control playing a key role, Chan said. WHO was “extremely pleased” with the recent decision taken by Shanghai to make airport terminals, railway stations and hotels smoke-free, she added.

“By fully implementing and enforcing the new indoor smoking ban and by following a whole-of-society approach, Shanghai can demonstrate to cities inside China and around the world that it is possible to create 100 percent smoke-free environments.” She lauded the Healthy China 2030 Planning Outline by the Chinese government as one of the actions that demonstrated China’s strong political commitment to prioritize the population’s health.

She also called for strong leadership and involvement from cities on carrying out the Shanghai Declaration, one of the major outcomes of the conference, because “mayors can introduce health-promoting measures more easily across all sectors than at the national level.”

Shanghai had shown advanced ways to promote health, said Dr Bernhard Schwartlander, WHO’s representative in China.

Finland’s minister of social affairs and health Pirkko Mattila, said she would consider cooperation with China on social affairs and health.

“Shanghai has demonstrated the future for many other cities. I want to come to the city again and I would like to live here because it has a very good environment,” Oleg Chestnov, the WHO assistant director-general, told Shanghai Daily.

To further improve the health conditions for local residents, the Shanghai government would take health into account during policy-making, such as with regard to community constructions and environment, said Wu Jinglei, director of the Health and Family Planning Commission of Shanghai.

The city would further expand the family doctor program by cultivating more medical graduates to become excellent general practitioners as well as offering them better career development and fulfillment, Wu told a press meeting on the sidelines of the conference yesterday.

The GP major at local medical schools could now accept about 500 students annually, more than double that of 2010, said Wu.

The authority would offer more chances for GP students to study abroad as well as to let graduates teach and guide other medical staff at local community hospitals, added Wu.

Currently, most local patients opt to go to hospitals even for common or minor diseases due to the lack of a family doctor service, but the city was working on the health system to encourage patients to go to family doctors for primary screening and common disease treatment.

“The family doctors are not only able to treat common diseases like cold and fever, but also the follow-up treatment for tumors and other complicated diseases,” Wu said.

He also noted Shanghai would launch a trial operation soon to issue a new long-term nursing insurance program for the city’s increasing number of aging residents.