The Development of Healthcare in China in the Context of Social and Economic Transformation

By Xiaoli Jiang and Yihong Gong.

Published by The International Journal of Health, Wellness and Society

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Healthcare in imperial China was predominantly covered by private practices using traditional Chinese medicine treatment. There were no national initiatives for health cover. Infant mortality was high, and life expectancy was very low. During the nationalist government era between 1911 and 1949, some public healthcare was established and hospitals similar to those in the West became available. Immunisation was accessible and infectious diseases were largely controlled. However, wars, poverty, and a severe shortage of trained doctors were prevalent. As a result, the child mortality rate remained high and people’s life expectancy showed little improvement. After the 1949 Communist revolution, many changes were made by the Chinese government to improve the healthcare system. It was ideology driven. As a result of these changes, the life expectancy of the Chinese people has gradually increased. However, the economic reforms over the last 30 years have brought new challenges and opportunities to the healthcare system. The size of the Chinese population and increased inequality in the society are acute issues facing the government and the people. This paper reviews the development of the Chinese healthcare system and reveals social and economic changes in relation to this development. The paper seeks to provide an historical overview of the issues involved in the development of healthcare in China and to contribute to a better understanding of the Chinese healthcare system.

Keywords: Development, Health Care System, China

The International Journal of Health, Wellness and Society, Volume 2, Issue 3, pp.89-100. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 302.722KB).

Dr. Xiaoli Jiang

Senior Lecturer and Course Coordinator of the Bachelor of Arts (International Studies), School of Behavioural & Social Sciences & Humanities, University of Ballarat, Ballarat, Victoria, Australia

Dr. Xiaoli Jiang is a senior lecturer and program coordinator of the Bachelor of Arts (International Studies) at the University of Ballarat. She has diverse research interests in the areas of Chinese culture, education and self-esteem; Asian migration and well-being of migrants; cross-culture self-esteem and children's self-esteem. In 2009, Dr. Jiang won a prestigious Australian Learning and Teaching Council Citation for her outstanding contributions to student learning.