|© UNICEF China/2004/Wang|
|Vice Premier of China Madame Wu Yi (right) meets with UNICEF Executive Director Carol Bellamy.|
BEIJING, 8 September 2004 – Vice Premier of China Madame Wu Yi and UNICEF Executive Director Carol Bellamy met on 2 September to discuss the situation of children and women in Western China, following Ms. Bellamy’s three-day visit to the Tibet Autonomous Region.
The Executive Director briefed the Vice Premier about UNICEF’s plans to support the Government of China in its Western Regional Development initiative. Also discussed were issues relating to HIV/AIDS, child protection and prevention of child injuries.
“Although Tibet has cut its maternal mortality rate in half in recent years, in part with support from UNICEF to promote hospital deliveries,” said Ms. Bellamy, “the rate is still about eight times higher than the national average. We are encouraged to see that the Cooperative Medical System is being established to provide insurance so the poorest can afford health care.”
Madame Wu Yi noted that in five decades, Tibet has made enormous progress. She also recognized that China’s economic development has not been evenly spread, and only recently has China’s opened up policy starting in the South and East. The Vice Premier described progress toward implementing a cooperative medical care system with pilot projects in all 31 provinces. The system would utilize contributions from individuals, from local government and from central government, and would cover the national population by 2010.
Ms. Bellamy highlighted her discussions with youth in Tibet. She noted that, in such meetings in other places around the world, she often hears of young people wanting to leave their homes and settle overseas. By contrast, this feeling was notably absent in Lhasa, where she met with 16 youths who said they were committed to staying at home and helping in the development of their country.
Madame Wu Yi placed great emphasis on measures to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS. She described the Government’s work in Henan and Yunnan provinces, reporting that the spread of HIV through contaminated blood supplies was well on its way to being controlled, but that transmission through intravenous drug use was more difficult to control. She outlined the Government of China’s commitment to the provision of free single-use needle programs and to significant investment in free medical care and antiretroviral therapy for people living with HIV/AIDS.
Carol Bellamy visits Tibet Autonomous Region, China
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