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Public Health

  Public Health Number of Health Institutions
  Number of Employed Personnel in Health Institutions
  Number of Beds in Health Institutions
  Death Rate of 10 Major Diseases in Urban Areas (2002)
  Death Rate of 10 Major Diseases in Rural Areas (2002)
  Incidence and Death of Infectious Diseases (2002)


The nation actively fought SARS outbreak. Within the first six months of 2003, the SARS epidemic broke out in 24 provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities in China, with an accumulative total of 5,327 clinically confirmed cases and 349 deaths. After the outbreak, the Chinese Government made the people's health and safety its top priority. It adopted a series of resolute and effective measures, including the promulgation of the Regulations on Preparedness for and Response to Emergent Public Health Hazards and Measures for the Prevention and Treatment of the Infectious SARS, timely release of information on SARS cases, and improvement of the SARS case reporting system and measures for prevention and control of the epidemic. State leaders went to SARS-affected regions many times to investigate the epidemic conditions and console SARS patients as well as doctors and nurses, and mobilized the whole nation to join in the fight against SARS. The central and local governments earmarked more than 10 billion yuan to purchase medical equipment, medication and protective gear, and to reconstruct hospitals. SARS patients, both farmers and townspeople who had financial difficulties, were treated free of charge, ensuring that all SARS patients were hospitalized. These measures effectively reduced the death rate of confirmed SARS patients on the Chinese mainland to 6.5 percent, lower than the world's average of 9 percent. According to incomplete statistics, more than 900 doctors and nurses were infected in the fight against SARS, and over 30 sacrificed their lives.

Accelerated development was made in public health undertakings. By the end of 2003, there had been 305,000 health care institutions in China, including 64,000 hospitals and health care stations, 3,058 maternal and child health care institutions and 1,811 specialized health institutions or stations. Hospitals and health care institutions had a total capacity of 2.9 million beds. Health workers numbered 4.24 million, including 1.83 million practicing doctors and assistant doctors and 1.24 million registered nurses. The country also had 3,600 epidemic/disease control and prevention centers and stations employing 159,000 health workers, and 755 health-monitoring institutions with 15,000 health workers. There were 45,000 health care institutions at township level in rural areas, with 668,000 beds and 907,000 health workers.

Prevention and treatment of AIDS were strengthened. China has established the State Council coordination meeting system for the prevention and treatment of AIDS and sexually transmitted diseases. It has also worked out the Medium- and Long-Term Plan for the Prevention and Control of AIDS (1998-2010) and the Action Plan for the Control, Prevention and Treatment of AIDS (2001-05). In the four years starting 2003, the Chinese Government will invest 1.75 billion yuan in the prevention and treatment of AIDS. The state provides free anti-HIV medicine to patients among farmers and to other patients in difficult financial circumstances. In seriously affected areas people can receive anonymous blood tests free of charge, and pregnant women can receive free medical screening to prevent possible spread of the virus to their baby. Orphans of AIDS victims are exempted from paying any fees required to attend school. Financial support is given to needy AIDS patients.

On the 16th World AIDS Day, which fell on December 1, 2003, the Chinese Ministry of Health and the UNAIDS Country Team in China jointly issued the Joint Evaluation Report on AIDS in China, which estimated 840,000 people were tested positive for HIV in the country, of whom 80,000 were clinically confirmed AIDS cases. Though only less than 0.1 percent of the Chinese adult population were infected, AIDS cases had been reported in all the 31 provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities throughout the mainland of China, with figures still growing. According to the joint report, China is entering a peak period of AIDS outbreak and death. Between 1985 and 2000, reported AIDS cases across the country numbered 880, with 496 deaths. In 2001 and 2002, however, combined confirmed cases and deaths reached 1,742 and 716, respectively. Reported AIDS cases in 2002 were 44 percent higher than in 2001.

According to the report, most of China's reported HIV/AIDS cases to date were caused by the sharing of infected syringes during injected drug use, while the percentage of sexually transmitted cases having increased from 5.5 percent in 1997 to 10.9 percent at the end of 2002. Since the first case of mother-to-child transmission was found in 1995, the number of such cases has also been on the rise.

Surveillance and reporting of contagious diseases were efficiently carried out. In 2003, the 31 provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities on China's mainland reported a total of 2,591,512 cases of the 27 contagious diseases that are legally stipulated to report to health authorities and 6,474 deaths of these diseases. The reported incidence and mortality were 192.18 per 100,000 and 0.48 per 100,000, up 5.45 percent and 23.82 percent, respectively. Incidences of rabies, hepatitis E, AIDS, hepatitis C, pulmonary tuberculosis and measles rose remarkably.