On behalf of Public Health England, I warmly congratulate the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention on its launch of China CDC Weekly.
The UK and China face many common challenges and our collaboration between us is very important to me personally. We already share our respective technical expertise and the opportunity is to further strengthen our partnership.
Public Health England (PHE) is England’s equivalent of China CDC, responsible for protecting and improving the nation’s health and for addressing health inequalities. We also host the UK focal point for compliance with the 2005 International Health Regulations. We have 5,500 staff, mostly clinicians and scientists and work in close partnership with local and national government, our National Health Service, internationally, and directly with the public.
In the first edition, the foreword by George Gao highlights the remarkable progress China has made in recent decades in truly transforming its mortality and morbidity outcomes, and the ambitious programme for future improvements set out in “Healthy China 2030”. We are certain that China CDC Weekly will provide a significant contribution to both Chinese and global health and become a seminal worldwide resource for researchers, practitioners, and policymakers further cementing China CDC’s position as one of the world’s leading public health institutes.
Our role as public health institutes is to understand the causes and consequences of poor health; be clear about what works; and encourage the adoption of effective interventions at scale and pace. China’s ability to draw on large data sets will significantly increase understanding of population health to know better where the greatest burden of disease is and therefore where to target resources.
Improving health is not always about spending more money, but about making sure we get the best impact for the money being spent – focusing on prevention and early intervention to reduce the high financial and societal cost of crises and failure. In the UK as in China, whilst life expectancy has improved over the past twenty years, the biggest determinant of years of life in good health remains income, with a near twenty-year difference between the affluent and the poor. This means that wider societal effort, not the health sector acting alone, is needed to create economic growth and increasing prosperity shared more widely. For our children, this means having the best start in life and being ready to start school. For our young people entering adulthood, this means the resilience to thrive. For adults this means having a secure job and home, and at all ages the importance of friendship and belonging in life. Essentially, economic growth creating jobs for local people in places that need them, with health and wealth being two sides of the same coin.
To make and win this argument with policy makers we must access high quality evidence from around the world and China CDC Weekly presents a new and rich resource on which to draw. The public health challenges faced globally are enormous, and the global health architecture is complex. The global public health family must share, cooperate, and learn from each other to inform and guide public health policies and strategies, and China CDC Weekly is a brilliant addition to the literature and evidence base.