Health of­fi­cials take ques­tions in on­line fo­rum

Ac­count on pop­u­lar web­site Zhihu shar­ing health, pol­icy in­for­ma­tion

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - FRONT PAGE - By WANG XIAODONG wangx­i­aodong@ chi­nadaily.com.cn

China’s top health au­thor­ity has opened an ac­count on Zhihu, a pop­u­lar Q&A web­site, to share health­care in­for­ma­tion and pol­icy de­tails with a wide au­di­ence.

The Na­tional Health and Fam­ily Plan­ning Com­mis­sion is the first min­istry-level au­thor­ity to launch an ac­count on the site, which has about 70 mil­lion reg­is­tered users.

The ac­count Jiankang Zhong­guo, or Health China, was launched in June and is up­dated daily with health tips and news about poli­cies, while of­fi­cials and ex­perts reg­u­larly an­swer ques­tions sub­mit­ted by ne­ti­zens, a worker at the com­mis­sion said.

The ac­count will be used along with 12 other on­line plat­forms, in­clud­ing the com­mis­sion’s web­site, which is avail­able in Chi­nese and English, as part of an ef­fort to reach a wider au­di­ence.

Launch­ing the Zhihu ser­vice shows that the cen­tral govern­ment “is keep­ing pace with internet and new me­dia de­vel­op­ments, is more tol­er­ant and open and is putting greater em­pha­sis on trans­parency”, a pub­lic­ity of­fi­cial at the com­mis­sion said. “We hope to uti­lize var­i­ous new me­dia to re­spond to public con­cerns quickly and trans­mit the voices of au­thor­i­ties, which is a duty of the govern­ment.”

Health China had 195 fol­low­ers as of Mon­day and had pub­lished sev­eral ar­ti­cles, in­clud­ing one on heat­stroke and an­other on pre­vent­ing the spread of dis­ease af­ter a flood.

“A per­son af­fected by heat­stroke should rest in a cool room and be given bev­er­ages such as lightly salted wa­ter,” the ar­ti­cle says. “They should be taken to hos­pi­tal if they dis­play symp­toms such as de­hy­dra­tion, fever or con­vul­sions.”

At the end are sev­eral com­ments from ne­ti­zens. One read: “I hope more ne­ti­zens will fol­low the ac­count so it can play a big­ger role in pro­mot­ing and pop­u­lar­iz­ing health knowl­edge.”

The top health au­thor­ity has been grow­ing its so­cial me­dia pres­ence in re­cent years, in­clud­ing mul­ti­ple ar­ti­cles about poli­cies and med­i­cal ad­vice on WeChat.

As of the end of last year, China had more than 730 mil­lion internet users, ac­cord­ing to the Chi­nese Academy of So­cial Sciences.

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