Since the peaceful liberation of Tibet, the state has allocated a total of 1.8 billion yuan to develop medical and health undertakings in the region. Now most rural areas in the region have established cooperative medical institutions, and the state's medical subsidies to farmers and herders exceed 20 million yuan annually.
Due to lack of transport facilities, Tibetan women used to deliver babies at home. Thus enabling rural women to deliver babies in hospitals has been a major measure to improve maternity and childcare conditions, ensure safe childbirth and reduce infant mortality in farming and stockbreeding areas. To date, the maternity and child care system has covered all townships in the autonomous region. Of all rural women, 22.74 percent deliver babies in hospitals, a figure nearly 20 percentage points higher than 10 years ago. As a result, the death rate of women in childbirth has dropped from 5 percent before the Democratic Reform in 1959 to around 0.23 percent, while the infant mortality plunged from 43 percent to 3.1 percent.
l Cooperative Medicare System
Beginning in the second half of 1997, the Health Department of the Tibet Autonomous Region introduced the rural cooperative medicare system in Gyangze and Nyingchi counties on a trial basis. Thus far, a total of 654 townships (82.11 percent of the total) in 70 counties (94.59 percent of the total) in Tibet have been included in the system.
The cooperative medicare system in Tibet centers on risk pooling for serious diseases. Farmers and herders participate in the system on a voluntary basis. Governments at various levels, collectives and individuals raise the necessary funds. Governments at the regional, prefecture/city and county levels contribute 15 yuan for each person annually, while farmers and herders contribute 1.5-3 percent of their annual net income per capita. Local civil affairs departments cover in principle the contributions of the poor, those who do not have any children and receive government financial care, the unemployed handicapped people, and the relatives of revolutionary martyrs.
Further efforts are being made to improve the cooperative medicare system so that by 2010, the system, centering on risk pooling for serious diseases, can cover all farmers and herders in the autonomous region.
At the end of 2004, the Tibet Autonomous Region had 1,326 medical institutions, including 764 hospitals and clinics, 79 disease prevention organs, and 55 centers for the healthcare of women and children. They had 6,413 beds for the sick, including 4,238 hospital beds. The number of medical and technical workers reached 8,569, including 3,447 licensed doctors. The number of beds for the sick and the number of healthcare workers reached 2.34 beds and 3.13 persons respectively for every 1,000 people.
l More Centenarians
The developing public health undertakings and improving pension insurance have provided reliable guarantee for the health of Tibetans. The average life expectancy of Tibetans has prolonged from 35.5 years five decades ago to the present 67 years. The number of centenarians in Tibet increased from 57 in 1991 to 116 in 2002, the highest in Tibetan history.
Now Tibet is one of the provinces/autonomous regions with most centenarians. Compared with an average of 6.4 centenarians per 1 million people across the country, there are 44 centenarians per 1 million people in Tibet.
l Planned Immunization for Children
Tibet started planned immunization for children in an all-round way in 1986. Since then, the incidence of such diseases as measles, tuberculosis, diphtheria and whooping cough, easily contracted by children, have drastically decreased.
l Development Objectives
According to Tibet’s development plan of health undertakings for 1996-2000 and through 2010, the region will establish a public health service system integrating disease prevention, health care and hygiene supervision. Such a system is expected to significantly improve the health conditions in agricultural and pastoral areas, enable every one to enjoy primary health care, satisfy health service demands of different groups of people, and improve the health of all ethnic peoples in the region. Corresponding strategies have been formulated at the same time.
Among objectives, the average life expectancy should rise from 67 years in 2000 to 69-70 years in 2010; infant mortality should fall by one-third in 2000 from the level of 1990 and decrease a quarter in 2010 from the 2000 level; the death rate of children under five years of age should decline by one-third in 2000 from the 1990 level and be down by one-fifth in 2010 from the 2000 level; the mortality rate of pregnant and lying-in women should go down by 50 percent in 2000 from the 1990 level and decline one-third in 2010 from the 2000 level.
In 2003, the Tibetan Mountaineering Team conquered four peaks each rising 8,000 meters or more. Sixteen people reached the top and nine of them climbed to the highest peak in the world.
At 9:30 Beijing time on July 27, 2004, the China Tibet Mountaineering Team Charged With Climbing the 14 8000-Meter Peaks climbed to the top of the 8,611-meter K2 in Pakistan. This was the first time the Chinese reached the top of the second highest peak in the world.