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Making the Case for an Integrated National NCD Prevention and Control Effort in China

About the Initiative

  • In 2004 and 2005, Dr. Zuo-Feng Zhang served as a consultant for the World Health Organization (WHO) on non-communicable disease (NCD) prevention and control in China.
  • Dr. Zhang explains that NCDs are responsible for 60 percent of deaths worldwide but more than 80 percent of deaths in China, and thus should be a high priority of public health policy, but at the time there was no plan.
  • His final report, issued to both the WHO and the Chinese government, made the case for an integrated national NCD prevention and control effort.
  • Among Zhang’s recommendations were a first-of-its-kind 0.5 yuan per pack tax for tobacco sales, with the money going to NCD prevention and control research; along with publication of an annual report on smoking and health, similar to the U.S. Surgeon General’s report.


When the Chinese Ministry of Health and the 14 other ministries and state administrations issued the China National Plan for NCD Prevention and Treatment (2012-2015) in May 2012, many of the plan’s key features followed Zhang’s 2005 report, including its strong emphasis on integrating prevention with treatment and emphasizing primary health care.


“This is a plan that indicates a critical national policy change,” said Dr. Zhang. “I was very pleased to see that the report referred to some of my recommendations”.



Zuo-Feng Zhang

Zuo-Feng Zhang, MD, PhD, Profesosr and Associate Dean for Research