China to increase hospital beds, medical staff over health care strains since end of ‘one child’ policy
Beijing allowed parents to have two children from January 1, 2016, but now needs to meet new demand for public services such as child health care and primary education
China will add 89,000 new hospital beds and train 140,000 new obstetricians and nurses to deal with the strains on its health care system brought about, in part, by the relaxation of its one-child policy, state media reported on Wednesday.
Worried about its ageing population, China issued guidelines in late 2015 that came into effect on January 1, 2016, allowing all parents to have two children.
It now needed to meet fresh demand for public services such as child health care and primary education, the Xinhua news agency said.
As part of its 2016-2020 health “five-year plan”, China aimed to raise its total number of nurses to 4.45 million by the end of the decade, Xinhua said.
The new plan, published late on Tuesday, said demographic problems were likely to become more pronounced in the coming five years as a result of China’s ageing population, rising urbanisation rates and health care coverage gaps in some regions.
It said China’s average life expectancy was expected to rise one year to 77.3 years by the end of 2020, while its population was forecast to rise to around 1.42 billion – up from 1.37 billion at the end of 2015.
China also aims to cut infant mortality rates to less than 18 per 100,000 births – down from 20.1 in 2015 – and death rates from diseases such as cancer and diabetes were also expected to fall 10 per cent over the 2016-2020 period.