China CDC Celebrates A Decade of Progress

China CDC observed its 10th anniversary in February with a celebration that marked its swift and remarkable trajectory forward to become one of the world’s most comprehensive national public heath institutes (NPHIs). Today, China CDC’s broad scope of responsibility includes disease surveillance and outbreak response, laboratory science, research, health education and health promotion, and health policy activities. 

China CDC’s rapid development and numerous contributions to public health were recently chronicled by an IANPHI team, which at the request of CCDC Director Yu Wang, evaluated the organization’s accomplishments and made recommendations for areas of future development. The IANPHI team’s report was formally presented at the anniversary celebration to assembled dignitaries and political leaders, public health experts, Dr. Wang, and his staff. 

IANPHI President Jeff Koplan, who led the evaluation team, said,  “We applaud the wise and visionary decision of the Chinese government to establish a comprehensive evidence-based public health institution.” Dr. Koplan, along with Dr. Geir Stene-Larsen (director, Norwegian NPHI), Dr. Mohammed Hassar (former director, Institute Pasteur of Morocco) and subject experts from China and the United States, conducted the two-week evaluation in August 2011. 

The China CDC has developed steadily since its creation in 2002. It has expanded its attention to a breadth of health problems, deepened its capacities, 
Evaluation Team CCDC
The IANPHI evaluation team included, back row from left: Jeffrey Koplan (IANPHI), Geir Stene-Larsen (Norwegian Institute of Public Health); front row: Yu Hai (Zhejiang University School of Medicine, China), Mohammed Hassar (formerly of Institut Pasteur, Morocco), Courtenay Dusenbury (IANPHI), and Denise Koo (U.S. CDC). Not pictured are James Curran, (Rollins School of Public Health, Emory University, USA), and May Chu (U.S. CDC).
broadened its mission, and become more visible as a major contributor to health in China. It has demonstrated a strong commitment to quality improvement and worldwide impact.

Koplan noted that China CDC has had an increasingly visible role in major issues of regional and global impact – such as HIV/AIDS, tobacco, influenza, MDR-TB, and polio. At the same time, it has developed capacity to play a lead role in responding to major disease outbreaks, national disasters and other emergencies while providing expertise in areas including HIV/AIDS, tobacco control, influenza and other viruses, parasitic diseases, and food safety. 

China CDC has demonstrated a strong commitment to quality improvement and worldwide impact. It has steadily strengthened its national surveillance system, especially in the years following the SARS outbreak, and has developed robust degree-granting training and education programs and a successful Field Epidemiology Training Program (FETP). The institute has built strong technical expertise: its scientists increasingly win awards from competitive grant programs and publish in top scientific journals. 

“China CDC has benefitted from having strong, long-term leadership over the past 10 years,” Koplan added. During this time the institute, which is the Ministry of Health’s primary technical arm for programs including high visibility issues, has been a cornerstone of capacity and consistency in strengthening the multi-layer national public health system with increasingly coordinated efforts and strengthened public image and visibility. At the same time, CCDC has developed a spacious new campus, with room to expand and state-of-the-art equipment. 

“CCDC is one of the few national public health institutes in the world that understands and implements the essential public health functions,” Koplan said. 

The scope and value of China CDC's role and responsibilities serve as an excellent example for other countries looking to increase or expand capacity.