China is one of the most populated countries whereby demographics shown that there were about 1.351 billion people in 2012. It was also estimated that Chinese’s people have a life expectancy of approximately 79 years and a population growth rate of 0.5 percent per annum (Hannum & Park, 2010).
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The massive population, controlled growth rate, and high life expectancy evoke a lot of curiosity as to how the country manages its healthcare system. It also raises concerns relating to health status of the country’s large population which could be one of the major challenges when it comes to maintaining good health. This paper will thus analyze the healthcare of China in terms of the general system as well as public health.
Summary of the Healthcare
According to a research conducted in 2005, it was estimated that the population has a fertility rate of 1.8 children per woman (Hannum & Park, 2010). It was also discovered that 25.3 newborns die during birth for every 1000 infants. At this point, the government committed about 37.2 percent of public funds and expenditure to health care.
From an analytical perspective, it is evident that the government has been capable of maintaining high health standards in the country. This is based on the premises that such scores are attained in a country with a massive population as compared to countries like India.
The availability, accessibility, and capabilities of healthcare professionals determine the efficiency of a health system. As of 2005, the country had 1.9 million physicians so that the overall rate was 1.5 professionals per 1000 patients. In 2012, OECD noted that this rate had been rising continuously leading to a current rate of 1.9.
The number of hospital beds per 1000 people has experienced a peculiar trend. The rate was estimated at 3.6 in 2010 and increased to 3.8 in 2011 because of timely adjustment to the rising population by the government. This shows how responsiveness of the authorities towards healthcare facilities in accordance to the country’s population.
The government has also invested heavily on the construction of hospital in rural and urban residences. It has emphasized on devolving the health care facilities to the marginalized areas so that most people have access to medical services. In fact, it was the government discovered that about a 100 million people who resided in rural areas did not have access to healthcare services.
This led to the conception of a program known as Healthcare System Reform that aimed to make the health services more affordable to them. The healthcare system is also characterized by the combination of traditional and western medicine used for treatment.
China has been at the forefront of training highly qualified professionals, including nurses, doctors, and clinicians worldwide. In fact, students from European, African and Asian countries have been seeking to complete their medicinal courses in China. The proficiency of Chinese’s training system has not only become popular in the media commentaries, but has also proven its competence through practice where patients often travel for surgeries and other medical services.
During training, students undergo a vigorous program that incorporates satisfactory theoretical understanding, practical work and research (Sorajjakool & Carr, 2010). This implies that students have the capability of diagnosing complicated diseases and discovering new medicines and approaches to treatment.
Therefore, the country uses locally available human resources to maintain high standards in their healthcare systems contrary to many countries that seek foreign professionals. In essence, using professionals from the country become less expensive, and enable the government to divert the additional funds, which could be needed for wages, to acquire other medical facilities.
Use of Local Medicine
Chinese has been producing traditional medicine for almost all illnesses and diagnoses required by patients. This implies that most of the medicines that are used in the country are produced locally while a little part of it is imported from European countries such as USA (Yuan & Bieber, 2011).
The local production of medicine supports availability of medicine to the growing population. Otherwise, if the country was relying on imported medicine only, it could experience a fatal deficit and economic depression when trying to satisfy the population’s medical needs.
Besides the aspect of sufficiency, the traditional Chinese medicines have the capacity and quality to contain many diseases that pose a threat to human life. In fact, this could be the resultant of the low mortality rate, high life expectancy, and reduced maternal mortality among other indicators of health.
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Availability of Funds
China has been rising economically to become the second-largest economy in the modern world. A research that was conducted by Gong (2012) showed that the country experienced 7.7 percent economic growth rate and attained a GDP of $9.8 trillion. These statistics show empirically that the economy is capable of providing fund for development of a highly efficient healthcare system.
The greatest weakness that has challenged the Chinese healthcare is imbalance of health facilities between the villages and cities. It was noted that the Chinese government put a lot of emphasis on improving healthcare in developed urban areas and neglected the marginalized ones.
The health care facilities were concentrated within the cities while people living in the countryside were segregated. The healthcare reform, which was started in 2005, and named as New Rural Co-operative Medical Care System set out to transform this condition so that those people could be considered.
Although the transformation has taken root in terms of facilities, the rural people have exhibited conservative behaviors regarding sex education, smoking and contraception (Chan, 2009). This conservativeness has led to increasing cases of abortion because of resistance against sex education. In addition, a lot of men have conserved the smoking tradition leading to increased cases of throat cancer and deaths.
Solutions to Weaknesses
It is evident that the Chinese government has played its role holistically in regard to ensuring sufficient availability of medicine, accessibility of healthcare services, and qualified medical professionals. Additionally, it has paid attention to the healthcare imbalance between rural and urban areas by conceiving the NRCMCS program that seeks to decentralize facilities in marginalized areas (Saich & Hu, 2012).
However, the conservativeness of the public is the most challenging problem as far as healthcare is concerned. This implies that the government, medical practitioners, and scholars should concentrate on civic education to create awareness on issues of smoking and contraception. This could eliminate the danger of creating a healthcare system that is developed in terms of facilities while leaving the public behind.
It is evident that the Chinese healthcare has developed profoundly when it comes to facilities, professionals and intellect. However, the public has been conserved most of the traditional ideologies and behaviors that impede good health (Chan, 2009). As a result, the interested personnel and entities should pay attention to civic education to raise awareness about those issues.
Chan, Z. (2009). Health Issues in Chinese Contexts. Hauppauge, N.Y.: Nova Science Publishers.
Gong, G. (2012). Contemporary Chinese Economy. London: Routledge.
Hannum, E., & Park, H. (2010). Globalization, Changing Demographics, and Educational Challenges in East Asia. Bingley, UK: Emerald.
Saich, T., & Hu, B. (2012). Chinese Village, Global Market: New Collectives and Rural Development. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.
Sorajjakool, S., & Carr, M. (2010). World Religions for Healthcare Professionals. New York: Routledge.
Yuan, C., & Bieber, E. (2011). Traditional Chinese Medicine. Sin: Informal Healthcare.