Basic public health services delivered in an urban community: a qualitative study

Public Health. 2011 Jan;125(1):37-45. doi: 10.1016/j.puhe.2010.09.003. Epub 2010 Dec 8.


Objectives: To understand the advancements in and barriers to the implementation of measures to improve basic public health services in an urban Chinese community.

Study design: A qualitative study based on semi-structured interviews. Interviews were audio-taped, transcribed and analysed using thematic content analysis.

Methods: In-depth interviews were undertaken with the directors of the management centres for community health services in 15 of the 18 districts in Beijing from December 2008 to February 2009. Content analysis of the data was completed in May 2009.

Results: Fifteen types of free basic public health services had been delivered in Beijing. Some were supplied at a low level. An average of £2.38 per person per year was provided for inhabitants since 2008, but demand for funding far exceeded monies available. Teams consisting of general practitioners, community nurses and public health specialists delivered these services. The number of practitioners and their low levels of skill were insufficient to provide adequate services for community residents. Respondents gave recommendations of how to resolve the above problems.

Conclusions: In order to improve the delivery of basic public health services, it is necessary for Beijing Municipal Government to supply clear and detailed protocols, increase funding and increase the number of skilled practitioners in the community health services.

MeSH terms

  • China
  • Health Care Reform / organization & administration*
  • Health Policy*
  • Humans
  • Public Health*
  • Qualitative Research
  • Urban Health Services*