According to Wikipedia, China is currently undertaking a massive reform of its health care system. The NRCMCS (New Rural Cooperative Medical Care Systems) is the name of a massive new initiative starting in 2005 to provide better health care to the rural poor in China. According to government reports, over 80% of the Chinese rural population had joined in to this initiative by 2007 – just two years after the launch date.
China faces many challenges in terms of providing health care, particularly to the elderly and poor. A new book, “Care in China – A Study of Senior Citizens’ Wellbeing Lifestyles” (by Piia Tillikainen) also addresses these challenges. This book was part of a research project observing elderly in Shanghai, conducted by the Inclusive Design Research Group in China.
In order to fully meet the needs of its aging population, China will need to embrace many modern technologies that it does not yet have fully in production. Whether it be medical technologies, or mobility aids such as stair lifts for elderly citizens, China will need to carefully evaluate all avenues it has to improving senior’s quality of life over the next decade.
On my recent trip to China, I was amazed by what is clearly a strong effort made by the Chinese government to provide quality health care to its aging population. However, only time will tell if these measures will by truly successful.