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Health and Family Planning in China

Updated: 2016-05-20



China is a developing country with a population of 1.37 billion. Medical and health development is crucial to people’s livelihood.


China attaches great importance to protection and improvement of people's health. The country’s constitution stipulates that the Chinese government develop the medical and health industry as well as modern and traditional medicines to protect people's health.


Over the years, the country has focused its health work on rural areas, giving priority to prevention while paying equal attention to Chinese traditional and Western medicines. It relies on science and education and encourages all public involvement to serve the health of the people and the development and modernization of socialism. The country is striving to develop a medical system with its own characteristics. It has deepened medical reform to establish a basic medical and health system covering both urban and rural residents to ensure that everyone can enjoy safe, effective, convenient, and cheap basic medical and health services. Through unrelenting efforts, a basic system has taken shape with strengthened disease prevention and treatment ability, expanded medical coverage , upgraded medical technology  and significantly improved public health . In 2015, China has put forward strategic goals for healthcare development to continuously increase people’s health and wellbeing.


Public health conditions continue to improve. According to statistics, by the end of 2015, China's per capita life expectancy reached 76.34 years, infant mortality was 8.1 out of 1,000, mortality of children under five was 10.7 out of 1,000, and maternal mortality was 20.1 out of 100,000. The health level of Chinese residents ranks high among all developing countries.


A universal healthcare system has been established. In 2015, basic medical insurances for urban employees and residents and the new rural cooperative healthcare insurance have covered all Chinese citizens. All provinces across the country have carried out critical illness insurance pilot prgrams to cover more than 1 billion urban and rural residents. All provinces have established a disease emergency rescue system to help those who are in need of first aid but have no ID or are unable to pay medical expenses. Medical support has also been provided to the poor. Commercial health insurance is also being provided.


The medical service system is improving. By the end of 2014, there were more than 980,000 medical and health institutions in China, and the number of healthcare personnel surpassed 10 million. On average, 2.12 out of 1,000 people were licensed practicing (assistant) doctors, 2.2 out of 1,000 were registered nurses, and 1,000 people shared 4.84 hospital beds. The number of patients who visited medical facilities nationwide hit 7.6 billion. Roughly 84 percent of residents can reach a medical facility in 15 minutes. China has actively been coping with an ageing population and encourages social forces to invest in retirement and nursing or other related fields.


China boasts effective public health services. China has focused on the health of women and children and offers free pregnancy eugenics checks for rural couples. The rural birth delivery rate at hospitals has reached 99.4 percent. A national immunization and vaccination program has been carried out. A total of 14 vaccines are offered to guard against 15 infectious diseases. The chronic hepatitis b virus infection rate was less than 1 percent among those under five. The World Health Organization announced in 2012 that China has successfully eliminated neonatal tetanus. Roughly 80 percent of those with risky behaviors leading to AIDS have received intervention. A total of 265 comprehensive chronic diseases prevention and control demonstration areas have been built, and more than 86 million hypertension patients and 24 million diabetes patients have been taken care of.  The country provides government subsidies for 45 basic public health services, including public health file establishment, health education and 12 vaccines. The infectious disease timely report rate has reached over 99 percent. The health emergency system has improved. It now takes only four hours for epidemic information to be reported from the community level to the national center for disease control and prevention. Previously, it took five days. China played an active role in fighting the Ebola outbreak by sending public health and clinical doctors to West African countries in 2015.


China is promoting long-term balance of population development. The country adheres to the basic national family planning policy and has fully implemented the two-child policy. It also advocates eugenics and continues to improve population quality, optimize population structure, and push for long-term balance of population development. The country pays attention to improving  development ability of each household, developing a new family population culture, and promoting family happiness and harmony.


China has achieved great progress on medical science and technology. Chinese scientist Tu Youyou won the Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine in 2015. In the past five years, medical and health research have received several hundred national scientific and technological awards. Medical scientists have published more than 230,000 SCI papers, ranking second worldwide. Basic research on genomics, stem cells and immunology has reached internationally advanced level. All regions have established provincial and prefectural health information platforms. Medical institutions have carried out telemedicine on a wide scale.


These innovations have helped diagnosis and treatment of common, frequently-occurring and difficult diseases; enhanced standardization of disease diagnosis, prevention and treatment; and improved prevention of infectious disease and major public health incident and emergency disposal ability. They have also boosted the development of the pharmaceutical industry tosupport  solving serious health problems and improving overall health.


Traditional Chinese medicine continues to develop. China has broadened the fields for traditional Chinese medicine services, optimized the medical talent structure layout, and taken steps to push for medicine personnel training through multiple channels. It aims to develop a diverse talent development pattern and vigorously improve the quality of TCM talent training. More than 90 percent of community health service centers, 80 percent of health facilities at towns and townships, and 65 percent of those in villages have offered TCM services. TCM hospitals at or above the second class level have set up potential disease departments. In 2014, TCM gross industrial output value reached more than 730 billion yuan ($112.74 billion), and TCM product imports and exports hit $4.63 billion.


China promotes active participation in international health affairs. China has pushed for the implementation of the 2030 sustainable development agenda. It has become deeply involved in high-level cultural exchange mechanisms with the US, the UK, Russia and France. The country also arranged a China-US Ebola forum, global health seminar, health policy dialogue, and HIV/AIDS prevention and control activities. It has deepened health-related communication and cooperation with countries along the “Belt and Road”, and stepped up regional cooperation with Africa, Central and Eastern Europe, Arab countries, Japan and South Korea, the ASEAN and the Greater Mekong Sub-region. The country has deepened exchange and cooperation with the WHO and the World Bank on medical reform, prevention and control of major diseases and health emergency response.


Link: China's Central Government / World Health Organization / United Nations Population Fund / UNICEF in China

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