I would like to offer my hearty congratulations and gratitude for the inaugural publishing of China CDC Weekly, a timely platform for disseminating public health advances, enhancing public awareness, catalyzing scalable actions, and shaping the future of public health.
Pioneered by C-E.A. Winslow and others in 1915, the initial definition of public health is the science and art of preventing disease, prolonging life, and elevating human health (1-2). Some nations spend much more than others on healthcare but get less, and a primary reason is overspending on treating diseases but underspending on preventing them (3). Global public health practitioners have been working tirelessly on preventive medicine to promote public health. Likewise, China CDC Weekly has made great efforts to be established as a national public health bulletin for disease prevention through timely and reliable release of public health information, surveillance data, surveys, scientific research findings, and recommendations to health professionals and the public.
Informed public health actions require organized efforts of individuals, organizations, communities, and society, and China CDC Weekly publishes all materials in the public domain with the aim to simultaneously reach all levels of public health stakeholders, such as lay audiences, the scientific world, health professionals, the media, the government, etc., to better perform their duties. This is a major benefit over other indexed scientific journals.
As evidenced by the three reports in the first issue on HIV/AIDS, fine particulate matter, and plague, we are excited to see China CDC Weekly start by covering a wide range of determinants of health, including environmental, socioeconomic, behavioral, and health care. Cumulative evidence has shown that social determinants of health account for a much larger part of our health than health care does, even though most countries in the world have overspent in the latter (4). Greater efforts are needed to correct the mismatch between determinants of health and our investment portfolio into health (5). Published by China CDC, China CDC Weekly is in a unique position to voice authoritative advice to shift from the current paradigm of a curative medical system to one with increased focus on efforts that directly address the social determinants of health.
The launch of China CDC Weekly hits a key milestone of establishing a primary public health communications channel for the most populous developing country, the first of its type since the founding of the US CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR). The timely and transparent public health information China CDC Weekly disseminates will facilitate global dialogue for China to share its public health experiences and learn from others. It will also have great potential to accelerate integration and efficient coordination of China’s public health missions with the rest of the world as globalization enables an epidemic in one part of the world to spread rapidly to another (6).
Moreover, the publication of China CDC Weekly is expected to enhance the sharing of common values for mankind. Amid rising tensions of global trade and economic disputes, the flattening globalized world might nevertheless become more harmonized if people can share more common values. In this regard, public health has been an appealing arena that could serve as the glue that binds people together. This has been manifested in the down-to-earth public health collaborations between China and USA, such as the greenlighted US-China Health Dialogue Track II (7), the acceleration of U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and China Food and Drug Administration (CFDA) drug approval (8), and recent joint-fighting against fentanyl trafficking and drug overdose (9). These partnerships have also been exhibited in China’s decades-long provision of health aid to Africa and even shortly after the Great Chinese Famine in the 1960s when China suffered massively from poverty and malnutrition (10).
With the world’s largest population, China has played a leading role in the world's health metric dynamics. During the 70 years following World War II, life expectancy in China more than doubled from 35 years in 1949 to 77 years in 2018 (11). Going forward, China will play an increasingly important role in the world health community, which will present China CDC Weekly with tremendous opportunities to expand its influence on the global stage.
On behalf of the China Health Policy and Management Society, a global organization that strives to promote population health and health equity for Chinese people worldwide, we once again congratulate the founding of China CDC Weekly.