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Canada Strengthens Ties with China on Health and Energy Priorities

Governments Agree on Cooperative Actions to Help Protect the Health and Safety of Citizens 

OTTAWA, April 17, 2014 /CNW/ - The Honourable Rona Ambrose, Minister of Health, Regional Minister for Northern Alberta and Member of Parliament for Edmonton-Spruce Grove, is wrapping up a week of meetings in China focussed on exchanging information, sharing best practices and strengthening collaborative actions on shared health priorities.  While in China, the Minister has highlighted the importance of supporting innovation and building strong health partnerships between academia and health institutions to address the increasingly complex health issues that impact Canadian and Chinese citizens. The Honourable Fred Horne, Minister of Health for Alberta, and co-chair of the Council of Federal, Provincial and Territorial Ministers of Health, accompanied the Minister to provide a provincial perspective to discussions.

The Minister also took the time to highlight the Canadian government's priority to diversify its export markets for energy and underline Canada's potential as a responsible and reliable provider of energy.  The Minister met with members of Sinopec, China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC), and the Canada China Business Council to discuss future collaboration and investment.

While in China, the Minister took the opportunity to meet with senior Chinese officials responsible for food and drug safety, consumer product safety, and infectious and chronic disease prevention and control. The delegation also toured Guang An Men Hospital, a traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) hospital. With a growing number of Canadians using TCM and other natural health products to help improve and maintain their health, this was an opportunity to learn more about this field and how Canada's federal, provincial and territorial governments can help ensure Canadians have access to a wide range of safe and effective options.

A key event was the 4th Canada-China Policy Dialogue, held on April 16 in Beijing, where Minister Ambrose took part in discussions on key health topics of interest to both Canada and China. Sessions focussed on:

  • collaboration on health surveillance, and the prevention and control of vector-borne diseases such as H7N9, anti-microbial resistance and Tuberculosis;
  • the demands of an ageing population on healthcare and social systems, and the need to collaborate on finding ways to ensure citizens enjoy independence, quality of life, and optimal physical, social and mental health as they age; and
  • challenges for the long-term sustainability of health systems and the need to work together to foster innovative technology, health care delivery systems and research that can lead to better quality and access to care.

At the close of the Dialogue sessions, Minister Ambrose and her counterpart Minister LI Bin, confirmed their commitment to advancing shared health priorities by signing the 2014-16 Plan of Action. The Plan of Action outlines how Canada and China will continue to work together over the next two years to advance and promote disease prevention and control, health surveillance, health innovation, health systems and healthy ageing.

Following the Dialogue session, an important Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was signed between Health Canada and the China National Center for Food Safety Risk Assessment that will support continued collaboration on food safety and nutrition issues that impact both Canada and China.

Minister Ambrose also witnessed the signing of three MOUs signed between Canadian and Chinese academic institutions, professional associations, and non-governmental organizations, underlining the importance of collaborative actions outside of government in contributing to better health outcomes in both countries:

  • the University of Toronto and the Fudan University in Shanghai, on collaboration in family medicine and general practitioner training;
  • the Canadian Nurses Association and the Chinese Nurses Association on nursing cooperation; and
  • the Rick Hansen Institute (RHI) with Accreditation Canada International (ACI) and Peking University Third Hospital to develop and implement best-practice standards for acute and rehabilitative care for spinal cord injury treatment care.

The Minister and her delegation also visited the Peking University Health Science Center to discuss the role of innovation in improving medical technology, health systems and research, and to learn about some of the University's initiatives.

Quick Facts

  • In 1995, the health ministers of Canada and China signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for cooperation in the field of health between the two countries. The MOU is reinforced by Plans of Actions signed by health ministers.
  • Numerous collaborative projects and activities have been conducted over the years under four previous Plans of Action (for the periods 2001-2004, 2005-2008, 2009-2011, and 2011-2014).
  • While the Plan of Action is an agreement between Health Canada, the Public Health Agency of Canada, and the Chinese health authorities, it also encourages cooperation between individuals and networks including research institutions, health institutions, and health associations in both Canada and China.

Quotes

"Canada and China share many common health priorities such as preventing and controlling infectious diseases, minimizing food safety risk and helping our ageing populations to stay healthy and active. Opportunities such as this to learn from each other and work on shared areas of interest are invaluable and will contribute to improved health for the citizens of both of our countries."
The Honourable Rona Ambrose
Minister of Health

"Canada and China have a long, rich relationship in health collaboration, spanning both government and non-government cooperation. The policy dialogue and the opportunities we've had to meet with health agencies and institutions in China go a long way to building on that relationship and creating more opportunities to advance mutual health objectives."
Dr. Gregory Taylor
Deputy Chief Public Health Officer, Public Health Agency of Canada

Associated Links

Canada-China bilateral relations
Minister Ambrose Heads to China to Discuss Health and Energy


SOURCE Public Health Agency of Canada

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