China: New Project to Reduce Risks of Emerging Infectious Diseases through a Multisectoral Approach

WASHINGTON, June 18, 2020-The World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors today approved a US$300 million loan for the Emerging Infectious Diseases Prevention, Preparedness and Response Project to help strengthen selected national and provincial systems in China to reduce the risk of zoonotic and other emerging health threats.

Emerging infectious diseases (EIDs) with pandemic potential are a major threat to global health security with significant impact on global economic and social development. In addition to EIDs, there are also global human and animal health risks from anti-microbial resistance.

“China is a high-risk area for emerging infectious diseases due to the combination of human population density, wildlife abundance, high levels of livestock production, land-use changes and habitat fragmentation. As one of the world’s largest consumers of human and animal antibiotics, China also carries high risk of antibiotic resistance. Improvements in China’s ability to prevent and be prepared for public health emergencies are of global interest,” said Martin Raiser, World Bank Country Director for China.

Addressing the social, environmental and economic determinants of EID risks requires a multi-sectoral approach, which brings together responses from public health, agriculture and food, as well as the environment and wildlife sectors. To help implement such a multisectoral approach, the project will support piloting improvements in risk-based surveillance systems for EIDs and antibiotic use in the human health and animal health sectors, and promote data sharing across sectors to improve risk mapping, early warning systems and encourage proactive reporting.

The project will also support a more targeted use of resources to effectively and rapidly detect and prevent the emergence of zoonotic infectious diseases and other priority health threats, and build institutional capacity in the pilot areas to implement the multi-sectoral approach. The project will also provide technical advice for the review of relevant laws, policies, regulations, and guidelines at the national and provincial levels based on international good practices and the experience gained during implementation.

The project will be primarily implemented in the provinces of Hainan and Jiangxi in southern China, a known area of EID risk. Hainan is the leading province in the establishment and institutionalization of One Health (a collaborative, multisectoral approach in achieving better health outcomes) practices in China and can serve as a demonstration case, while Jiangxi will be more focused on priority risk mitigation interventions to pilot the new approach in selected counties. Project-supported activities will include joint risk assessments, mapping and prioritization; introduction of risk-based surveillance and early warning systems; improving the management of selected wet markets; promotion of good animal husbandry practices; enhancing the ability to limit human exposure to wildlife; and training for human and animal health workers.

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