BEIJING, April 7 (Xinhua) -- China's planned health
sector reforms are in line with principles of the World Health Organization
(WHO) to provide equal access to universal health-care, WHO head Margaret Chan
She said the level of consultation by the Chinese
government before launching the reform was "commendable."
Chan made the comments at the launch of the World
Health Day campaign in Beijing the same day the Chinese cabinet announced a
three-year action plan on health-care reform that will last more than a decade.
"The broad principles contained in the Chinese
government's new health-care reform are in line with what the WHO is promoting,
for example, the principle of equity, the principle of having the poor (covered
by) health policies," said Chan, the director general of the WHO.
After more than 20 years of transition from a
socialist planned to a market economy, China's cradle-to-grave social security
network was gradually dismantled, leaving many vulnerable.
Efforts in the past decade to reform the health
sector were also regarded as unsuccessful. Three years ago the government began
to draft a new reform plan aimed at helping all 1.3 billion citizens have
effective and affordable access to a better health care.
The core principle of the reform is to provide basic
health-care as a public service, which requires greater government funding and
Asked if health-care services should be provided
free, Chan said it was necessary to take a piecemeal approach to that objective,
which was also in line with the principles of WHO.
Chan said experience from other parts of the world
showed that "there is no substance provided free."
"It has to be paid for, either from general taxation,
either through special government arrangement to provide helpful policy to
encourage public insurance," she said.
Chan said health-care reform was "very complex and
difficult," and had different factors coming into play, which required efforts
of both the public and leaders.
She said central and local political leaders at
different levels should consult with their people to try to find their own
"One thing I have to say though... the level of
consultation done by the Chinese government before they formally launch the
health care reform is commendable," Chan said.
In the government's early stage of deliberation and
preparation, the WHO was among the agencies and organizations to provide advice
and technical assistance, she said.
The government also went held a major consultation
process with the public by publishing the draft plan on health-care reform on
the Internet for public debate.
"Last year when they were doing the consultation, I
actually went on the website to review some of the comments," Chan said. "So
this is already an indication of the commitment of the government to modernize
their method of policy formulation."
China unveils action plan for
universal access to basic health care
BEIJING, April 7 (Xinhua) -- China unveiled a
three-year action plan on health care reform Tuesday, which it said would lay a
solid foundation for equitable and universal access to essential health care for
all in China.
Under the 850 billion yuan (124 billion U.S. dollars)
plan for 2009 to 2011, the government promised universal access to basic health
insurance, introduction of an essential drug system, improved primary health
care facilities, equitable access to basic public health services and pilot
reform of state-run hospitals. Full story
China's health-care reform plan hailed
as encouraging, right decision
BEIJING, April 6 (Xinhua) -- Officials with the World
Health Organization (WHO) and the World Bank have said China's commitment to
universal access to basic health care in its new health care reform plan was an
encouraging and right decision.
Dr. Sarah Barber, an official with WHO Representative
Office in China, said that the aim to improve equitable access to essential
health care for all in China was "laudable." Full story
China to set up essential medicine
system to curb rising drug prices
BEIJING, April 7 (Xinhua) -- The Chinese government
Tuesday announced it will institute an essential medicine system within three
years to drive down prescription costs and quell public complaints of limited
accessibility of medicines.
The system includes a list of essential medicines
that would be produced and distributed under government control and supervision,
according to an action plan (2009-2011) on China's health-care reform. Full story
China to set up clinics in every
village within 3 years
BEIJING, April 7 (Xinhua) -- China will set up at
least one clinic in every village within three years to improve the health care
at grassroots level, according to an implementation plan for medical reform
released by the State Council here on Tuesday.
The government will also support the construction of
2,000 hospitals at the county level to guarantee that each county has a hospital
that meets the national standard, the three-year plan (2009-2011) said, adding
that more township hospitals and clinics will be built or expanded in
2009. Full story