Timeline of healthcare in China

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This is a timeline of healthcare in China, focusing especially on modern science-based medicine healthcare. Major events such as crises, policies and organizations are included.

Big Picture[edit]

Year/period Key developments
2500BP-1949 Traditional Chinese Medicine prevails in this time which covers most of the history of China. Chinese herbology, acupuncture, dietary therapy, tai chi, tui na and qigong thrive.[1] Around the 19th century, western-inspired evidence-based medicine makes its way into the country.
1949–1980 With modern medicine already established, after the Communist Party takes over in 1949, healthcare is nationalized. A national "patriotic health campaign" is attempted to address basic health and hygiene education, and basic primary care is dispatched to rural areas through barefoot doctors and other state-sponsored programs. During this period, Infant mortality falls from 200 to 34 per 1000 live births, and life expectancy increases from about 35 to 68 years.[2]
1978–present Period of economic liberalization. The rural cooperative medical system disintegrates and the barefoot doctors program comes to an end. The increase in the elderly population and their lack of health insurance and pensions will also place enormous pressure on services for their care. All these changes have great impact on the rural health care system, leaving the urban system basically intact, and contribute to the rural-urban disparity in health care. Period of one-child policy.[3]

Full Timeline[edit]

Number of reported confirmed cases of malaria in China for the period 2002–2014.[4]
Year/period Type of event Event Location
11th Century BC – 771 BC Organization In the Western Zhou dynasty, imperial doctors are divided into four departments: Dietetic (food and beverage hygiene); Diseases (internal medicine); Sores (external medicine); and Veterinary.[5]
770 BCE – AD 221 Compilation Medical researchers compile the written records and oral knowledge of Chinese medicine from the previous ages and write the Yellow Emperor’s Classic of Internal Medicine. This book systematizes and consolidates ancient medical experience and theory into one compendium.[5]
265 AD – 907 AD Development During the Jin and Tang dynasties, Chinese medicine experiences great development. In the study of the origins of disease, diagnosis, pharmacology, specialization, medical training, and other aspects, great achievements are made.[5]
960 AD – 1368 AD Development During the Song and Yuan periods, due to the invention of printing technology and further advances in paper making, large quantities of Chinese medical texts are printed and published. This causes Chinese medicine to spread, giving rise to widespread and deep research.[5]
1700s Development The earliest contemporary hospitals begin to appear in China in the form of missionary hospitals run by western churches.[6]
1844 Organization (hospital) Renji Hospital is founded.[7][8] Shanghai
1876–1879 Crisis Northern Chinese Famine kills an estimated 13 million people.[9] Shaanxi, Hebei, Henan, Shandong and Jiangsu.
1883 Organization (hospital) Sheng Jing Hospital is established.[10] Shenyang
1894 Organization (medical school) Hebei Medical University is established.[11][12] Shijiazhuang
1901 Organization (hospital) Haikou City People's Hospital is founded.[13] Haikou
1905 Policy The central government establishes a Sanitary Department.[14]
1907 Organization (hospital) Ruijin Hospital is founded.[15][16] Shanghai
1907 Organization (medical school) Tongji Medical College is established.[17] Wuhan
1908 Organization (medical school) Kung Yee Medical School and Hospital is established.[18] Guangzhou
1912 Organization (medical school) Wenzhou Medical College is established.[19] Wenzhou
1912 Organization (medical school) Zhejiang University School of Medicine is established.[20][21][22] Hangzhou
1912 Organization (medical school) Peking University Health Science Center is established.[23] Beijing
1912 Organization (medical school) Suzhou Medical College is established.[24][25] Suzhou
1917 Organization (medical school) Peking Union Medical College is established.[26][27] Beijing
1919 Organization (medical school) Shanxi Medical University is established.[28] Shanxi
1921 Organization (medical school) Xiamen University is established.[29][30][31] Xiamen
1921 Organization (medical school) Medical College of Nanchang University is established.[32][33] Nanchang
1927 Organization (medical school) Fudan University Shanghai Medical College is established.[34][35] Shanghai
1928–1930 Crisis Famine kills about 3 million people.[36] Henan, Shaanxi, and Gansu
1930-1939 Development The Rural Reconstruction Movement pioneers village health workers trained in basic health as a part of a coordinated system of rural uplift programs in the areas of health, education, employment etc.[37]
1933 Organization (medical school) Kunming Medical University is established.[38] Kunming
1934 Organization (medical school) Nanjing Medical University is established.[39][40] Zhenjiang
1935 Organization (hospital) Shanghai Mental Health Center is founded.[41] Shanghai
1937 Organization (medical school) Fujian Medical University is founded.[42][43] Fuzhou
1937 Organization (hospital) Shanghai Children's Hospital is founded.[44][45] Shanghai
1941 Organization (medical school) Fourth Military Medical University is established.[46][47] Xi'an
1942–1943 Crisis Famine kills 2 to 3 million people.[48] Henan
1945 Organization (medical school) Chengde Medical College is founded.[49][50] Hebei
1946 Organization (medical school) Changzhi Medical College is established.[51] Changzhi
1946 Organization (medical school) Liaoning Medical University is established.[52] Jinzhou
1947 Organization (medical school) Chengdu Medical College is established.[53] Chengdu
1947 Organization (medical school) Dalian Medical University is founded.[54] Dalian
1949 Background Inauguration of the People’s Republic of China. At this time the country has 40,000 doctors to care for a population of nearly 540 million. Despite a low urbanization rate, most physicians are concentrated in cities.[55]
After 10 December 1949, the healthcare system of the Republic of China was moved to Taiwan.
1949 Organization (hospital) Tianjin First Central Hospital is founded.[56][57] Tianjin
1950-1959 Campaign Period of the Patriotic Health Campaigns.[58]
1951 Organization (pharmaceutical company) Guangzhou Pharmaceuticals is founded as a pharmaceutical wholesaling and distribution company.[59] Guangzhou
1951 Organization (medical school) Tianjin Medical University is established. It is the first medical institution approved by the State Council of the People's Republic of China.[60][61] Tianjin
1951 Organization (medical school) Southwest Medical University is established.[62][63] luzhou
1951 Organization (hospital) Women's Hospital, Zhejiang University is founded.[64]
1951 Organization (medical school) Weifang Medical University is established.[65] Weifang
1951 Organization (medical school) Southern Medical University is established.[66][67] Guangzhou
1951 Organization (medical school) Sichuan Medical University is established.[68] Luzhou
1951 Organization (medical school) North Sichuan Medical University is established.[69][70] Nanchong
1953 Organization (pharmaceutical company) North China Pharmaceutical Group Corp is founded.[71]
1954 Organization The Ministry of Health of the People's Republic of China is established.[72]
1956 Organization (medical school) Xinjiang Medical University is established.[73] Xinjiang
1956 Organization (medical school) Beijing University of Chinese Medicine is founded.[74] Beijing
1956 Organization (medical school) Chongqing Medical University is founded.[75][76] Chongqing
1956 Crisis An outbreak of the Influenza A virus subtype H2N2 occurs.[77] Guizhou
1957 Organization (hospital) Shanghai Chest Hospital is founded.[78] Shanghai
1957 Report There are over 200,000 village doctors across the nation, enabling farmers to receive basic health care at home and work every day.[79]
1958 Organization (medical school) Bengbu Medical College is founded.[80] Bengbu
1958 Organization (medical school) Ningxia Medical University is founded.[81][82] Yinchuan
1958 Organization (medical school) Wannan Medical College is established.[83] Wuhu
1958 Campaign The Four Pests Campaign is initiated by Mao Zedong, who identifies the need to exterminate mosquitoes, flies, rats, and sparrows.[84]
1958 Organization (hospital) Xinhua Hospital is founded.[85][86] Shanghai
1958–1959 Campaign The massive Great Leap Forward campaign is set to rapidly transform China into a modern communist society.[14]
1959–1961 Crisis The Great Chinese Famine leads to from about 15 million excess deaths (government statistics) to 30 million (scholarly estimates)[87] It is widely considered to be the direct consequence of the Great Leap Forward.
1960 Organization (medical school) Capital University of Medical Sciences is founded.[88] Beijing
1965 Mao Zedong's speech on health care mentions the concept of "barefoot doctor".[37]
1965 Organization (medical school) Hubei University of Medicine is established.[89] Shiyan
1967 Campaign The Project 523 is launched with the purpose of finding new drugs for malaria, a disease claiming many lives at the time. More than 500 Chinese scientists recruited. Artemisinin is discovered. Officially terminated in 1981.[90]
1968 Policy The barefoot doctors (farmers who receive minimal basic medical and paramedical training) program becomes integrated into national policy. In areas lacking medicine or urban-trained doctors, village doctors can go through short-term training – three months, six months, a year – before returning to their villages to farm and practise medicine.[79][91]
1970 Organization (medical school) Binzhou Medical College is established.[92] Binzhou
1971 Organization (pharmaceutical company) Yangtze River Pharmaceutical Group is founded.[93] Taizhou
1976 Background Mao Zedong dies.[94]
1978 Background The Communist Deng Xiaoping becomes paramount leader of China, giving birth to a new era of reforms.[95]
1979 Organization (medical school) Clinical Medicine College of Hangzhou Normal University is founded.[96] Hangzhou
1980 Policy One-child policy is introduced as a part of the family planning policy.[97]
1980–1989 Study The China–Cornell–Oxford Project is conducted to examine the diets, lifestyle, and disease characteristics of 6,500 people.[98] 65 rural counties
1981 Organization The National Family Planning Commission is formed. Dissolved in 2003.[99]
1984 Reform The government starts to implement free-market reforms. Free medical care is abolished.[100]
1985 Policy The Ministry of Health officially cancels the title of barefoot doctor.[14] Those able to pass qualifying examinations are now termed “rural doctors”, while others are re-categorized as health workers or medical aides.[55]
1985 Organization China’s State Administration of Traditional Chinese Medicine is established.[101]
1989 Project The China Health and Nutrition Survey is started.[102]
1989 Organization (pharmaceutical company) CSPC Zhongrun is founded as a pharmaceutical manufacturer.[103][104]
1989 Organization (medical school) Changsha Medical University is founded.[105] Changsha
1993 Organization (pharmaceutical company) Jilin Aodong Medicine is established as a state-owned enterprise that manufactures patent drugs and pharmaceutical packaging products.[106] Dunhua
1994 Organization (pharmaceutical company) Tasly is founded. Notably producer of traditional Chinese medicines.[107][108] Tianjin
1995 Organization (pharmaceutical company) Tiens Group is founded.[109] Tianjin
1995 Organization (Healthcare provider) Shenzhen Goldway Industrial is founded as a manufacturer of medical devices.[110] Shenzhen
1995 Organization (pharmaceutical company) China Nepstar is founded as a drugstore chain.[111][112] Shenzhen
1997 Background Deng Xiaoping dies.[113]
1998 Policy Health insurance becomes available for working urban residents through the Urban Employee Basic Medical Insurance program, which covers employees in private and state-owned enterprises, government, social organizations, and non-profits.[55]
1998 Organization (hospital) Shanghai Children's Medical Center is founded.[114] Shanghai
1999 Organization (pharmaceutical company) Haifu is established as a manufacturer of non-invasive ultrasound therapeutic systems for tumors.[115][116] Chongqing
2000 Organization (pharmaceutical company) Guizhentang Pharmaceutical company is founded as a company that profits from extracting bile out of Bile bears to make traditional Chinese medicine.[117] Quanzhou
2000 Organization (pharmaceutical company) WuXi PharmaTech is founded.[118][119] Shanghai
2000 Organization (healthcare provider) Zhuhai Fornia Medical Device Company is founded as a Chinese-American joint venture that manufactures medical devices.[120][121] Zhuhai
2000 Organization (pharmaceutical company) Sinovac Biotech is founded as a manufacturer of vaccines against human infectious diseases.[122][123] Beijing
2002 Policy The system of Centers for Disease Control (CDC) is established by the Chinese Academy of Preventive Medicine, creating a nationwide infrastructure for disease control and prevention.[14]
2002–2003 Crisis The Severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) epidemic outbreaks in China.[124] Guangdong Province
2003 Organization (pharmaceutical company) China National Pharmaceutical Group is founded. It is the largest pharmaceutical company in China.[125] Beijing
2003 Organization (pharmaceutical company) Nanjing Ange Pharmaceutical is founded as a drug manufacturer.[126] Nanjing
2003 Organization The National Population and Family Planning Commission supersedes the National Family Planning Commission. Dissolved in 2013.[127]
2005 Organization (hospital) Beijing New Century International Hospital for Children is founded.[citation needed] Beijing
2007 Organization Zhejiang Xinhua Compassion Education Foundation is founded as an NGO to address malnourished children in rural China.[128]
2007 Execution Zheng Xiaoyu, the former head of the State Food and Drug Administration, is executed for corruption.[129]
2008 Crisis Chinese milk scandal: It involves milk and infant formula along with other food materials and components being adulterated with melamine. An estimated 300,000 victims reported.[130] Six infants die from kidney stones and other kidney damage with an estimated 54,000 babies being hospitalized.[131][132]
2010 Study The China Family Panel Studies is launched in 2010 by the Institute of Social Science Survey (ISSS) of Peking University.[133]
2011 Study The China Health and Retirement Longitudinal Study is conducted in order to examine health and economic adjustments to rapid ageing of the population in China.[134]
2011 Report Medical and healthcare institutions around the country number 954,000, licensed doctors (assistants) reach 2,466,000, or 1.8 per thousand people, registered nurses total 2,244,000, or 1.7 per thousand people, hospital beds reach 5,160,000, or 3.8 per thousand people.[135]
2012 Achievement Health insurance reaches 95 percent of the Chinese population.[100]
2013 Organization The National Health and Family Planning Commission) supersedes the National Population and Family Planning Commission.[136] Beijing
2015 Policy The Chinese news agency Xinhua announces plans of the government to abolish the one-child policy, now allowing all families to have two children.[137]

See also[edit]


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