China established a four-level disease prevention

China has for the first time introduced laws specifically targeting the spread of Aids and outlawing discrimination against victims of infectious diseases.

The laws passed by parliament guarantee funding from central government to local authorities to tackle the fast-spreading disease, state media said.

China's regions must also strengthen Aids prevention programmes, including tightening up blood donation measures, reports BBC News.

According to the Channel News Asia, amendments to the law on infectious diseases urge officials at all levels to step up the control of AIDS and take measures to prevent the spread of the disease, the Xinhua news agency reported.

They were signed by President Hu Jintao after being passed by the national legislature over the weekend, according to the agency.

The amendments also emphasize the need to help areas that are too poor to fund a healthcare system that effectively prevents diseases and treats people already infected, the agency reported.

"Lack of adequate funds has undermined contagious disease prevention and control capabilities of organizations entrusted with the tasks," Vice Minister of Health Gao Qiang was quoted as saying.

"Due to the lack of money, some patients could not receive timely, effective and formal treatment and became new sources of infection," he said, according to the agency.

In general, the law underscores prevention and early warning of contagious diseases and isolation of patients of contagious disease.

It puts greater responsibility on medical institutions to monitor the spread of contagious diseases and prevent infection inside hospitals.

China has established a four-level disease prevention and control system starting from the county level up to the prefecture, province and state levels, with a staff of 288,000 people. By 2003, the incidence of contagious diseases in China had fallen to 182 in 100,000 people, informs Xinhua.

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