TCM to play more important role in bolstering China’s public health and emergency response system: expert

By Wang Qi Source:Global Times Published: 2020/5/20 17:58:04

Primary school students on Monday learn to use dengzi, a scale to weigh traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) in Hohhot, North China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region. They also learned to identify medicinal plants and grind them to promote TCM knowledge. Photo: VCG

A senior academician at the Chinese Academy of Engineering will submit proposals to integrate traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) into China's prevention and treatment system for infectious diseases and public health emergency mechanism at the upcoming "two sessions."

Zhang Boli, a key expert-consultant in the fight against the COVID-19 epidemic in Central China's Hubei Province and National People's Congress (NPC) deputy, will make the proposals, Zhang's team confirmed to Global Times on Wednesday.   

The prestigious TCM expert noted that while China has achieved victories in many anti-epidemic battles in the past such as SARS and the H1N1 flu, weaknesses and deficiencies have been exposed in its epidemic prevention and control and public health management systems in coping with the coronavirus outbreak, and these need to be strengthened through the inclusion of TCM.

In his proposal, Zhang said TCM treatment has played an important role in curbing the virus. He suggested improving the response mechanism for public health emergencies, and adding TCM to the relevant plans, including increasing the number of TCM experts in consultant teams and treatment institutions, as well as ensuring the supply of TCM ingredients and outfits.

Zhang stressed the importance of setting up an emergency expert consulting committee at the prefectural and county-level administrations to cope with unexpected public health crises. The expert committee should include a certain proportion of TCM practitioners.

More TCM institutions should be established in a bolstered nationwide medical treatment system, which will also include first aid institutions, infectious disease treatment institutions, as well as a chemical poisoning and nuclear radiation treatment base, Zhang said.

In addition, Zhang proposes that governments at the county level and above should strengthen the dissemination of public health and TCM protection knowledge through broadcasting, internet and even manuals. People should be guided to establish scientific awareness and action when coping with public health emergencies. 

By the end of April, more than 70,000 out of 80,000 confirmed coronavirus cases have been treated by TCM, and more than 90 percent of the patients in the hard-hit Hubei Province have taken TCM, said Zhang in a previous  interview with the China News Service.

According to Zhang, TCM is effective in shortening the duration of symptoms and reducing the proportion of patients going from mild to severe, which has increased the rate of recovery. 

Northeast China's Shulan on Wednesday said it is offering residents in key areas, people under isolation and medical workers free TCM drinks that can be consumed as a substitute for tea. It is composed of several herbs that are helpful in taming coronavirus, China News Service reported. 

"If we integrate TCM into the prevention and treatment system of infectious diseases, we will be more proactive in our work," Zhang told media previously. 

The third session of the 13th NPC, the country's top legislature, will open on May 22 in Beijing, and the third  session of the 13th National Committee of the CPPCC, the nation's top political advisory body, will start on May 21.

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