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China leaves India behind with better Health Conditions

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By– Correspondent | Date– May 19, 2011 | Place– New Delhi

The recent World Health Statistics 2011 report by World Health Organization (WHO) has showed that China has done much better and outperformed India in improving general health conditions of its citizens during the past decade. The Chinese, according to the WHO report has less infectious disease cases, has a wider coverage of various medical services and is seeing a longer life expectancy than India.

A few examples from the report on how China is doing better than India in health conditions:

  • Reported cases of Malaria in China during the period were 14,491 cases, a number really low among developing countries. India had as high as 1,563,334 cases of Malaria during the period!
  • Tuberculosis in China was quite high in China with 965,267 cases. However India reported even more at 1,351,913 cases with prevalence 1.4 times higher.
  • China is seeing a coverage rate ranging from 85 percent to 95 percent on distinct basic medical services, such as antenatal care, immunization, and detection rate for tuberculosis. In India, the coverage varies from only 45 percent to 75 percent.
  • China has a record 90 percent in prevalence of antenatal care and professional birth care. In India, it is typically low at around 50 and is considered the reason for India’s high child and maternity mortality rates.
  • India’s child mortality is around three times higher than China, and maternity mortality stands 6.1 times higher than China!
  • In China the average life expectancy at birth is 74 years against India’s 65 years.

It is to be noted that another WHO report on health systems financing showcased the medical insurance reforms done by China as an example for developing countries. China had initiated a scheme in 2003 to increase the proportion of its population covered by formal insurance from 15 percent in 2003 to 90 percent by 2011. The scheme has greatly improved medical financing in rural areas.

As developing health insurance system requires more access to basic health care, the factor that immediately influences poor people’s acceptance of medical services is the income disparity. Both China and India still have a huge section of their populations living in extreme poverty (living on less than 1 US Dollar per day). However this is what makes the difference, – India has 41.6 percent of poor people living on less than 1 US dollar per day while China has only 15.8 percent of such people.

This report acts a slap on the face to all those who keeps claiming about the greatness of Indian democracy compared to communist China and refuses to learn from the neighbors out of the false superiority complex. It is time India and Indians accept their flaws and the Indian Government makes some serious reforms in the health space. 

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