“The Coronavirus and the Chinese Healthcare System”

Posted on: February 10, 2020

Dr. Jiwei Qian, Senior Research Fellow at the East Asian Institute, National University of Singapore, will be visiting CALS in early April to present his research on the Chinese healthcare system. Dr. Qian has written extensively on this topic, which, in the past weeks, has been the center of many heart-wrenching stories coming out of China precipitated by the coronavirus crisis.

Dr. Qian recently published a policy brief, Wuhan Virus: Facts, Government Reaction and Outlook, co-authored with Dr. Gang Chen. Among others, the authors argue:

“The information flow and coordination of government departments prove to be inadequate despite the enactment of a host of laws and regulations after the SARs crisis. The Regulation on Handling Public Health Emergencies in May 2003, the Law on the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases in 2004 to clarify the responsibility of local government and health authorities in infectious disease surveillance and reporting, and the regulations on contingency plans during a public crisis for central ministries and local governments in 2006 and 2011 apparently do not measure up.

The authors also allude to systematic flaws in the Chinese healthcare system:

“Wuhan has to build two emergency hospitals, one of which is expected to have 1,000 beds by 3 February. Since 20 January, the 61 hospitals in Wuhan have been providing outpatient service for fever round the clock. Hospital visits were four times higher than before the outbreak of the crisis. On the other hand, resources from primary care clinics have been underutilised due to people’s distrust of services provided. After 24 January 2020, the health authority in Wuhan implemented a referral system to take advantage of the capacity of 205 primary care providers. Rather than visit the hospitals directly, patients will be referred to hospitals from primary care clinics.”

We look forward to being enlightened by Dr. Qian’s research.

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