Re-engineering the medical care systemAiming at providing all citizens with equal access to basic health care and financial protection, the Chinese government launched a healthcare system reform in 2009. Major efforts have been made in introducing cost-effective public health programs, establishing a universal social health insurance scheme, and strengthening infrastructure. These policies have largely reduced out-of-pocket (OOP) health payments with government subsidies, though gaps still remain in quality of care which varies with socioeconomic status and region.
The epidemiological transitionChina has also witnessed a progressive shift in the health burden from communicable to chronic non-communicable diseases (NCDs). In terms of incidence rate, influenza, hand, foot, and mouth disease (HFMD), and infectious diarrhea were the most occurring infectious diseases. Since 2008, HIV/AIDS has been the deadliest disease in the group, followed by tuberculosis, hepatitis A, and hepatitis B. Overall, communicable diseases were responsible for 1.81 deaths per 100,000 population across the country in 2019.
The rapid aging population and the rise of NCDs have become a growing concern in China, with cancers, heart diseases, and cerebrovascular disease being the main underlying death causes. Due to the discrepancies in modernization level, demographics, and healthcare resources, the chronic illness trends in urban areas vary greatly from that of rural areas. Furthermore, the mortality rate of some diseases in rural China can be much higher than that in urban area.