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Universal Health Coverage: International Movement and Chinese Practices

The 8th U.S.-China Health Summit was held on October 12th-14th, 2018 in Chengdu City, Sichuan, China. This Summit was organized by the Health and Family Planning Commission of Sichuan Province Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences & Peking Union Medical College and was co-organized by the West China Hospital, Sichuan University, Sichuan Academy of Medical Sciences & Sichuan Provincial People’s Hospital, School of Public Health, Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences & Peking Union Medical College (CAMS & PUMC).

At the opening ceremony on October 12th, LIU Yuanli, Dean of School of Public Health of CAMS & PUMC, and President of Chinese Aging Well Association, delivered a opening remarks entitled Universal Health Coverage: International Movement and Chinese Practice.

LIU Yuanli

LIU addressed that the year of 2018 was the fortieth anniversary of the Alma-Ata Declaration and also the fortieth anniversary of Chinese Economic Reform. China celebrated the Alma-Ata Declaration via its practices of primary care.

As early as 1930s, PUMC established the Ding Xian Model. When the PRC was newly founded, although the per capita income was low, Chinese citizens’ life expectancy surpassing the world average level due to China's emphasis on primary care and universal coverage.

In 2015, President XI Jinpin led us to solemnly commit to achieve the goal of Sustainable Development, the thirteenth item of which is to "achieve universal health coverage". Its main goal is to ensure that all Chinese citizens have access to the high-quality health services they need at anytime and anywhere without the heavy economic burden.

LIU pointed out that China had gone through two stages in the practices of universal health coverage in the past 20 years.

The first stage focused on universal coverage of primary medical insurance. In the past, the medical insurance system was falling behind, resulting in illness-related poverty. Although major challenges, including aging, chronic diseases outbreak, unbalance in resource allocations, still existed, Chinese medical demands were met greatly.

The second stage began in 2009 with the comprehensive implementation of the national project to provide basic public health services. This stage was financed by the central and local governments and services had been provided by primary health care institutions. From 2009 to 2017, provided services increased from 9 categories with 35 items to 12 categories of 46 items. The per capita investments had increased from 15 yuan to 55 yuan. The amount directly allocated by the Chinese central government had exceeded 300 billion yuan. At this stage, Chinese health literacy increased significantly, and the management rate of chronic diseases was rising steadily.

Marked by the implementation of the Healthy China 2030, China now entered the third stage. A core transformation of this stage was shifting from "passive treatment" to "proactive health" . Notable cases were the Mobile Treatment Model in Wen Chuan City and the first free universal health screening program in Lu Zhou City.

Finally, LIU raised exceptions for universal health coverage, and pointed out that national health coverage was the common aspiration from the global people. The road would not be smooth, but the future would be bright. We were working hard with all the people's expectations.

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