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China launches three-year campaign against endemic diseases

Updated: Dec 10,2018 7:56 PM     Xinhua

BEIJING — China has launched a three-year campaign on the prevention and cure of endemic diseases between 2018 and 2020, according to an action plan jointly released by the National Health Commission (NHC) and nine other authorities.

By the end of 2020, China will strive to eradicate iodine deficiency, and bring an end to fluorine and arsenic poisoning caused by coal burning, Kaschin-Beck disease and Keshan disease, said the NHC.

It will seek to effectively control diseases such as poisoning caused by fluorine and arsenic-laden drinking water, endemic fluorine poisoning caused by tea-drinking, and water-borne iodine excess.

Schistosomiasis will be brought under effective control and eliminated, according to the plan.

As an important part of China’s poverty alleviation efforts, the campaign aligns its target with the national goal to eradicate absolute poverty by 2020 and requires that all current endemic disease patients and advanced-stage schistosomiasis patients receive effective treatment, said the NHC.

Measures such as the improvement of nourishment and housing conditions, as well as the relocation of people from disease-causing environments, will be taken to meet the goal, said the NHC.

The action plan also includes a specific timetable for the prevention and cure of endemic diseases and orders that comprehensive measures should be taken and jointly financed by the central and local authorities.

Progress in the control of endemic diseases will be an important index in assessing the work of local governments.

As of 2018, 94.2 percent of China’s counties have gotten rid of iodine deficiency, and Keshan disease is under effective control in 94.2 percent of the counties where it was once prevalent, while 95.4 percent of the counties once troubled by Kaschin-Beck disease are now free from it.