As the Founding Director-General of China CDC and the Deputy Editor-in-Chief, I would like to express my heartfelt congratulations for the China CDC Weekly.
Public health in China has been keeping pace with the development and construction of New China through its world-renowned accomplishments. In its 70 years of experience, China has established a public health system for epidemic and disease prevention with the following aspects: the Department of Preventive Medicine and Health and epidemic prevention stations as a foundation; epidemiology and five major systems (food hygiene, occupational health, environmental health, school health, and radiological health) as the main body; the National Immunization Program, All-People’s Patriotic Health Campaign, primary healthcare networks, and health surveillance systems as initiatives; and biomedical principles as a scientific basis. Such a system had high cost-effectiveness, wide coverage, low investment, and high efficiency, and while being government led, it involved collaboration and participation of the whole society.
In 2002, the national-level Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention (China CDC) was established to direct the work of the original three-level disease prevention system (i.e. county, city/prefecture, and provincial) and to achieve a complete disease control and prevention system from local to central. This was a major milestone for the development of China's modern public health system.
The establishment of China CDC not only refined the system for disease control and prevention to cover communicable and non-communicable diseases, but it also expanded programs for child and adolescent health, mental health, sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) and acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) prevention, tuberculosis prevention, endemic disease prevention, and others on the basis of original research on environmental health, nutrition and food hygiene, occupational health, and radiological health. For example, China CDC set up the National Immunization Program, Public Health Surveillance and Information Center, etc., to achieve full coverage of general hygiene and health institutionally and functionally. China CDC also put forward a mission: “Centered on disease control, based on scientific research, and rooted on training talent.” For this target, the Chinese Field Epidemiology Training Program (CFETP) was initiated in 2001 and a total of 313 trainees completed their two-year course as of 2019.
In addition, to prepare a Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR)-like journal was an aspiration even in the early years of China CDC. Our original concept included a release platform for information on the practice on public health in China, a dissemination platform for related agencies and international partners, and a learning platform for China CDC personnel on new scientific and practical techniques. After more than ten years and through great effort, such a platform is now finally available.
Congratulations again to the founder George F. Gao and the founding team. I’m honored to join the editorial board and sincerely hope that the China CDC Weekly will be a trusted source of scientific information on public health events in China and a world-leading journal of public health in the near future.