Medical reforms should aim at preventing disease

Updated: 2012-07-24 17:24

By Liu Jie (

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China should pay a large amount of attention to improving public health and preventing diseases, even as it is struggling with the ever-increasing cost of medical care, government officials and experts said at a forum held in Beijing on Tuesday.

The forum was sponsored and organized by The Economist magazine and its main topic was the achievements China has made in its attempts to reform its medical care system in recent years, as well as the obstacles it has encountered.

Hu Shanlian, a professor at Fudan University, said putting more money and work into preventing and controlling diseases will help to reduce medical care costs and ease the public's financial burden.

"That's in line with the government's goal of providing safe, effective, convenient and affordable medical services to Chinese people," he said.

Lei Haochao, deputy director-general of the Beijing Health Bureau, said more than 80 percent of China's medical spending goes to treating diseases and less than 10 percent to prevention and control.

"In trying to get the medical system to concentrate on improving health rather than providing therapy, China still has a long way to go," he said.

China spent about 1.2 trillion yuan ($188 billion) on an initial round of medical reforms, which lasted from 2009 to 2012. And the government is pledging to spend more in a second round, lasting from 2013 to 2015.

The forum will also look at managing chronic diseases, procuring medical care and provisions and the changing role of the private sector in China's medical reforms.