Chronic Disease Becomes the Most Prominent Health Issue in China
“Currently we have more than 270 million patients suffering from chronic diseases. In 2016, direct medical economic burden of chronic disease reached up to 2500 billion RMB. No matter from the aspect of suffering, mortality, or economy, it is the most prominent health issue we are facing.” Fu Wei, the Director of the Center for National Health Development Research, National Health Commission of China disclosed such details at the 8th U.S.-China Health Summit.
FU Wei, Director, Center for National Health Development Research, National Health Commission of China
"Building an Effective Healthcare System in Response to Challenges from Chronic Disease Epidemic"
Population Aged between 35 to 65 is the “Main Force” of Chronic Diseases
It is indicated that in China, malignancy, cerebrovascular diseases, heart disease, and respiratory diseases contribute to 80% of the mortality rate. By 2016, the expenses of chronic diseases has reached to 82.6% of the total health burden.
According to Fu Wei, the increase of chronic diseases has obvious correlation with the population aging. The World Bank predicts that by 2050, China will be one of the most aging countries. By 2030, the aging issue in China will cause the population with chronic diseases to increase 40%. Another factor for the rise of chronic diseases is urbanization, for example, environmental issues and air pollution caused by urbanization.
In addition, unhealthy lifestyle also increases the risk of chronic diseases. WHO has concluded that the unhealthy lifestyle including includes smoking, drinking, lack of exercise, unhealthy diet, and etc, is the influential factor which contributes 60% of the rise of chronic diseases.
In the future, the threats and challenges caused by chronic diseases will be more severe. The World Bank predicts that in the next 20 years, the prevalence of the chronic diseases will increase by one to three times, and tends to be younger. Population aged between 35 to 65 are the main force of chronic diseases while the incidence of people over 40 suffering from chronic disease will also multiply.
At the same time, chronic diseases have brought a severe burden that drags down the development of the economic society. The financial burden caused by chronic diseases occupies 9.7% of the GDP, which consumes a large amount of social wealth. In 2016, the recurrent health expenditure of chronic diseases accounted for 67.4% of the total health expenditure, and within the recurrent health expenditure of chronic diseases, the household health expenditure accounted for 37.9%. With the improvement of governmental investment and health insurance level, personal burden for the total health expenditure has decreased to 28.8%. However, the percentage of the household expenditure in the health care expenditure of chronic diseases is still above 30%, which still means a huge economic pressure and risk for a residential household, especially for low-income and needy families. As for the distribution of the health expenditure in different agents, 65.5% was spent in hospitals, 9% in grassroots units, and 1.8% in public health institutions.
Establish Integrated Health Care Service System to Chronic Diseases Prevention and Control
In the aspect of the prevention and control of chronic diseases, the point is how to transfer from disease-centered to health-centered as well as from isolated work of a single department to the close collaborations among relevant departments. Now, there is an international consensus that an integrated health care service system should be established to integrate functions, distribute resources to grass-roots units, and to form a systematic and continuous service model.
Fu Wei said, to establish an integrated and collaborative health care service system, the core is to encourage more vertical collaboration so as to promote the spontaneous distribution of high-quality resources to grass-roots units and to increase their service capability; to promote the collaboration of various forms of health care institutions at all levels so as to integrate treatment and prevention; to encourage social participation so as to make up for the short ends and involve more health resources; and to establish a stable cooperation mechanism so as to form the communities of interests, services, etc., to put forward the key point of the prevention and control of chronic diseases and to focus on the grass-roots units, so as to achieve all-round, full-cycle, and continuous services.
In addition, we should innovate a health care service model that focuses on chronic diseases, which transfers from passive treatment to active prevention and provides the public with convenient, effective, continuous, and comprehensive services by signing contracts with the families. Through technological innovation and development, applying information technology, we can improve the efficiency of resource utilization, service quality and service experience for the public.