BEIJING, China- China has made major progress in healthcare demographics during the last twenty years. Between 1990 and 2010, life expectancy increased to 75.7 years from the previous 69.3 years. Along with increased life expectancy came substantial reductions in child mortality. Child mortality has decreased by nearly 80% having declined by 6% each annually. Maternal and neonatal disorders are similarly down by 59%. Death by diarrhea and lower respiratory infections in young children has been reduced by more than 90% since 1990.
China has also seen significant success in reducing the rate of suicide of young people. Suicide for young women have declined an astonishing 75% while suicide rates for young men have declined 49%. While the globe has seen an increase in drug use disorders for people aged 20-24 by 38 percent, China has actually seen a decline of about 5%.
Today, China’s health status is a far cry from where it was in 1990. Twenty-three years ago, China’s health profile was akin to health in developing countries like Vietnam and Iraq. The leading health issues were lower respiratory infections, stroke, congenital anomalies, and pulmonary obstructive disease.
The prevalence of those diseases has declined, however, China has developed many newer issues. By 2010, the main cause of health issues were stroke, heart disease, low back pain, and road injury. Cancer and diet related illnesses are also in the rise. The rise of these diseases suggest that China his catching up to other developed countries in more ways than just health care improvement. As the economy of China improves, health issues develop to fit the needs of a nation rising out of poverty. Thus, as one set of poverty related health issues is swapped out for the issues of a richer more developed nation.
Nevertheless, China’s health improvement is impressive enough on its own. Its story demonstrates that success is possible for developing countries.
– Grace Zhao