Disease trends in China

Population health

  • China’s population has reached its peak and is projected to remain above 1.39bn until 2035. After a brief rebound, the number of newborns is expected to return to its previous downward trend owing to a combination of fewer women of reproductive age and declining fertility rates.
  • China is currently facing a notable increase in its elderly population. By 2040, it is projected that the proportion of individuals over 60 years old in the country will reach 28%.
  • Healthcare expenditures have increased year on year because of the rapidly ageing population; To ensure the overall wellness of the population and alleviate the pressure on healthcare expenditure, the Chinese government has implemented a series of policies to construct a more robust healthcare system.

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Major disease trends

  • Non-communicable diseases account for 85% of deaths in China, according to the WHO. The leading causes of death in 2019 were stroke, ischaemic heart disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, lung cancer and stomach cancer, according to the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation.
  • China is facing a challenge with a high prevalence of hepatitis patients and a relatively low rate of diagnosis and treatment. This situation has resulted in a significant burden in treating liver cirrhosis and liver cancer caused by hepatitis B infection. As per the WHO’s global hepatitis strategy, the objective is to decrease new hepatitis infections by 90% and fatalities by 65% from 2016 to 2030.
  • With cancer cases on the rise, the Chinese government has initiated a range of initiatives focused on cancer screening and prevention. In 2009, China initiated a national screening program for cervical and breast cancer targeting women in rural areas. As of 2022, the screening program has been extended to encompass women residing in both rural and urban regions.
  • The number of people infected with HIV in China has been increasing year by year. However, thanks to AIDS prevention and control measures, the growth rate has slowed down.

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