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IN DEPTH: Research advances in China improving health on a global scale
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Research advances in China improving health on a global scale

By Kaylin Stinski

BT 201905 in depth 01中国在全球范围内改善健康的研究进展



中国的医疗团队在全球49个国家开展多种全球健康项目,使全球健康领域能够扩展到最需要的国家。中国卫生官员不仅被派往应对伊波拉病毒和中东呼吸综合征等疫情, 还与美国疾控中心合作, 帮助非洲国家建立自己的疾病控制中心。这些有效的努力和伙伴关系有助于为未来的全球健康研究和方案编制在中国之外的国家进行奠定基础。

BT 201905 in depth 02China is in a unique position when it comes to health and medicine. Their culture is rooted in ancient traditions of herbal remedies, yet they are combined with cutting-edge biomedical research and advancements. Many scientists have come to China to study Chinese medicine in order to further understand causes of illness, ways in which treatments can be improved, and how infectious diseases can be prevented and controlled. Recently, a botanical therapy was rediscovered and turns out to be an effective weapon against malaria.

With 1.4 billion residents, China is the world’s most populous country. No other country has such a large population of elders. Currently their life expectancy is 75 years, which is nearly twice what it was fifty years ago. This has shifted their health focus to non-communicable diseases as they are now a rising concerns. Cancer and stroke are two of the major focuses in research for China and the health of their aging population. Cancers of the liver, biliary tract, stomach and oesophagus are of concern for researchers, because they are more common in China than in other countries, like the United States. This is especially important to consider due to the varying influences to health, such as environment and diet.

Decades ago the Atlas of Cancer Mortality in the People’s Republic of China was started, and it has been vital in assessing the geographical patterns of cancer. With partnerships involving scientists from other countries, Chinese scientists have been able to conduct large-scale population studies to greater understand what is influencing health. Some of these studies, like the Shanghai Women’s and Men’s studies, have shed light into variables that increase risk for cancer and other chronic diseases.

BT 201905 in depth 05Global health science has made great strides in China and is visible within three specific indications: the rise of global health institutions, the constant growth of global researchers, and the increasing number of relevant and advancing global health papers being published in international journals. Chinese academia has picked up the torch in global health research, studying how China’s experience in health development can be applied to other countries in development. Additionally, they are focused on exploring global health governance and how they assist with health development in such settings. China Centre for Disease Control has also partnered with universities to start pilot programs and projects on maternal and child health in Myanmar and malaria control in Ethiopia.

BT 201905 in depth 04There are Chinese medical teams working in 49 countries on various global health projects, allowing the global health field to be extended to those countries in the greatest need. Health officials from China have been dispatched not only in response to outbreaks, such as Ebola and Middle East respiratory syndrome, but they have also partnered with the United States CDC to help African countries set up their own centres of disease control. These practical efforts and partnerships help build a foundation in which future global health research and programming can be developed out of China.

BT 201905 in depth 03Global health is still a relatively new concept in China and, as an interdisciplinary field, it takes a lot of time to cultivate partnerships. Despite China’s progress, there are still challenging aspects they are facing, while advancing the global health field. Due to this interdisciplinary demand of global health, more professionals outside of the public health field need to be invited to the table to address these challenges. As China continues to reform their health sector and research goals, they will open themselves up for opportunities to work with international counterparts. They are on the cutting edge for advancements and public health products that can be distributed on a global scale impacting health globally.

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