Health care in China: put prevention first

S. B. Rifkin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In contrast to all other developing countries whose health systems consist of curative services for an urban elite and little or nothing for the vast majority of the population is the People's Republic of China which emphasizes prevention combined with prophylactic work, makes extensive use of paramedical personnel, and has expanded its health care services to cover rural populations. Overall mortality has dropped significantly, while the decline in infant mortality since 1949 is spectacular. The major cause is that health policy is an integral part of the overall development strategy. By building a strong primary preventive network, China has realized great economic and health advantages; elimination or limiting the effect of diseases has reduced the requirement for curative investment. With mass inoculation programs and preventive care, China has not reported a major epidemic of preventable disease in the last 23 years. Preventive measures carried out by paramedical workers have also provided the opportunity for dissemination of health education. Mass mobilization and campaigns against diseases have not only raised the consciousness of the population concerning health but also boosted environmental sanitation and new approaches to disease problems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)35-45
Number of pages11
StatePublished - 1973
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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