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Remarks by H.E. Ambassador LIU Zhenmin at Ministerial-level Meeting on Universal Health Coverage
2013/02/21

Dr. Margaret Chan ,Director-General of WHO,

Honorable Ministers,

Ladies and Gentlemen:

The Chinese Government highly appreciates the Universal Health Coverage (“UHC”) advocated by WHO and takes health care as one of the core national development goals with the aim of ensuring “Everyone Enjoys Essential Health Service by 2020”. The health care reform was initiated by the Government in 2009. A number of achievements have been made:

First, most Chinese citizens have access to essential health services now. Health insurance programs have covered 1.3 billion people which accounts for 95% of the whole population. The remaining group of population has been shielded by a publicly-financed emergence relief system.

Second, diversified financing methods have led to better affordability of health services. Between 2009 and 2011, the Government has spent over RMB 1500 billion from its budget on health care. Citizens, employers, civil society and the private sector are all combining their efforts in increasing investment in capital and in kind on health care. Cost burden on the patients is increasingly reduced.

Third, a range of related reform measures have been taken in coordination with insurance programs which have brought about upgraded quality and efficiency of health services. Essential drug lists were introduced and have been implemented. Investment, oversight and management of community health centers and public hospitals were all enhanced.

Since this panel is focused on best practice-sharing, I would like to highlight some of China’s experience:

First, political commitment. Wise and determined leadership at the highest level is always the most powerful driving force. China’s health reform is led by a multi-departmental working mechanism chaired by the Executive Vice-Premier.

Second, accountability. An accountability system is in place for all the governors at provincial, city and county levels who are obliged to report annually about progress in health care reform.

Third, integrated approach. Success of UHC hinges upon functioning of a range of systems such as insurance financing, drug production and purchase, hospital management, doctor’s training and so on. We introduced essential drug lists. Community health centers have been taken as the gate-keepers of system. University graduates and doctors in big hospitals are encouraged to go to work at community health centers with various incentives. Monitoring and oversight of public hospitals are also strengthened to make it provide better services.

Fourth, advanced ICT technologies are widely used to facilitate monitoring and evaluation. Information management platforms monitoring purchase and use of essential drugs, medical record of patients, insurance financing and so on are established all over the country.

China is committed to further improving its health care system and will continuously increase financial investment and deepen relevant reforms. We hope that WHO and the World Bank would continue their leading role in promoting this lofty goal of UHC. We believe that the UHC should be incorporated in the UN Post-2015 Development Agenda. We appeal the member states of WHO to further prioritize UHC in their national development plans. We also appeal all the stakeholders including Governments, civil societies and the private sectors to join efforts to support a sustained UHC drive at the global level.

Thank you!

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