China is slowly but surely moving forward in creating a society in which the old traditional ways of poverty are disappearing from the scene. This is also occurring with the development of health care which reaches out to more and more people. There is no question health facilities are more available to those in urban than inhabitants of rural areas. The latest figures reveal life expectancy has grown from 71.4 years in 2003 to 73 last year. Infant mortality during the same time period has dropped from 2.55% to 1.53% while the number of women during pregnancy or child birth who died dipped from 51.3% per 100,000 to 36.6% per 100,000. There is a steady increase in the number of doctors and nurses and latest data indicates the presence of 1.56 doctors per 1000 people which is higher than previous figures of 1.48.
The data reveals healthcare is improving. Of course, the differences between rural and urban healthcare are rather significant. China’s average income has now hit about $3,500 and still rising. It will probably take another decade before the results of an improved economy are felt in rural China, but the times they are a’changing.