Central govt policies, grassroots hospitals key for China to walk out of epidemic: Zhang Wenhong
Published: Mar 04, 2023 05:44 PM
Zhang Wenhong Photo:Xinhua

Zhang Wenhong Photo:Xinhua

Now it is a perfect time for China to strengthen the building of grassroots hospitals, enhance cooperation between top hospitals and those at the grassroots level, the key steps that helped China emerge from the shadows of COVID-19, according to Shanghai-based renowned infectious disease expert Zhang Wenhong. He called for a renewed effort in strengthening building of the grassroots hospitals so that the country can weather a future public health crisis.

Zhang, who is also a member of the 14th National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), made the remarks on Saturday before the first session of the 14th National Committee of the CPPCC.

He said that the central government's COVID-19 policies have protected the public from exposure to more lethal variants, which is key for China to achieve victory in its fight against COVID-19.

The coordination between grassroots and top hospitals and enhanced building of those grassroots hospitals are also crucial for the victory, said Zhang, who is head of the Center for Infectious Diseases with the Shanghai-based Huashan Hospital of Fudan University.

During the interview, he told a story of a visit he made to a hospital located in a rural part of Shanghai one month before Chinese New Year in 2023. COVID-19 cases were surging at that time in China.

Zhang said one 70-year-old patient missed the scheduled time to be transferred to a top hospital and had already developed "white lung." In order to save life, Zhang and other doctors arranged an online consultation for the patient. The patient recovered and was released from hospital one month later.

Zhang said this has firmed his view of speeding up the construction of grassroots hospitals. "Now we are at a time when the COVID-19 has ebbed away, so it is a very good time for China to continue to strengthen construction of grassroots hospitals," said Zhang.

China has achieved a decisive victory in its COVID-19 prevention and control strategy since November 2022, achieving the miracle of a populous country successfully walking out of the pandemic, and the COVID policy adjustment and optimization helped the country achieve a stable transition and keep the overall death rate at the lowest level in the world, Chinese top leadership said last month.

Zhang said China has accumulated abundant experience and methods in dealing with COVID-19, which provides improved confidence in coping with other public health challenges.

Global Times