China's revolution in health

Am Univ Field Staff Rep Asia. 1980;3:1-24.


PIP: Since the revolution and the overthrow of the Gang of Four, China has embarked upon a program of modernization, internationalization, and technological development. The sloganeering campaign for general health as espoused by Chairman Mao is as follows: 1) prevention, including immunizations and early illness detection; 2) serve the workers, peasants, and soldiers; 3) medical work integrated into all other modernization efforts; and 4) combine traditional and Western medicine. The mass campaign aims to involve individuals in improving their health care facilities at the same time they are involved in production of goods and services. Rural workers are mobilized in mass cleanup and prevention campaigns. Of the 8.7 million health workers, nearly 2 million are barefoot doctors, or other types of doctors serving at the lowest rung of paramedical service. Basic services are widely available. Costs are low, access is easy. For about 95% of illnesses the system works very well. Patients with illnesses requiring high technology care, e.g., organ transplant, cannot survive. Chairman Mao codified traditional medicine as a curriculum component for education; it is based on ancient West-Central Chinese practices, mostly from the Han people. The 4 main components are theory, diagnosis and prescription, herbal medicine, and accupuncture.

MeSH terms

  • Allied Health Personnel
  • Asia
  • Asia, Eastern
  • China
  • Community Health Workers*
  • Delivery of Health Care*
  • Developing Countries
  • Health
  • Health Facilities
  • Health Personnel
  • National Health Programs
  • Nutritional Physiological Phenomena*
  • Rural Health Services*