Tackling the challenges to health equity in China

Lancet. 2008 Oct 25;372(9648):1493-501. doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(08)61364-1. Epub 2008 Oct 17.


In terms of economic development, China is widely acclaimed as a miracle economy. Over a period of rapid economic growth, however, China's reputation for health has been slipping. In the 1970s China was a shining example of health development, but no longer. Government and public concerns about health equity have grown. China's health-equity challenges are truly daunting because of a vicious cycle of three synergistic factors: the social determinants of health have become more inequitable; imbalances in the roles of the market and government have developed; and concerns among the public have grown about fairness in health. With economic boom and growing government revenues, China is unlike other countries challenged by health inequities and can afford the necessary reforms so that economic development goes hand-in-hand with improved health equity. Reforms to improve health equity will receive immense popular support, governmental commitment, and interest from the public-health community worldwide.

MeSH terms

  • China
  • Female
  • Health Services / economics
  • Health Services / statistics & numerical data*
  • Healthcare Disparities / economics
  • Healthcare Disparities / statistics & numerical data*
  • Healthcare Disparities / trends
  • Humans
  • Income*
  • Male
  • Rural Health / statistics & numerical data*
  • Urban Health / statistics & numerical data*