Life expectancy soars as access to healthcare improves in Xinjiang

Source: Xinhua| 2017-06-01 15:50:42|Editor: Xiang Bo
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BEIJING, June 1 (Xinhua) -- A white paper issued by China's State Council Information Office on Thursday said the average life expectancy has increased from 30 years in 1949 to 72.35 years in 2016 in northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region.

According to the white paper, titled "Human Rights in Xinjiang - Development and Progress," the mortality rate dropped from 20.82 in 1949 to 4.26 per thousand in 2016.

"There is marked improvement in ensuring access to healthcare," it said.

The white paper said Xinjiang's medical services were in a poor state before 1949; there was a shortage of doctors and medicines, and epidemics of diseases, such as the plague, smallpox, and cholera, were commonplace.

In 1949, Xinjiang had only 54 medical institutions with 696 beds, placing the medical service capacity at 1.6 beds and 0.19 doctors per 10,000 people, it said.

After more than 60 years of development, a basic medical care system has been established, with medical institutions covering urban and rural areas.

By the end of 2016, there were 15,721 medical institutions of various kinds, including 707 hospitals with 144,500 beds, and 51,000 doctors, and 56,000 nurses, the white paper noted.

With 60.3 beds and 21.2 doctors serving every 10,000 persons, Xinjiang is now above the national average in terms of medical service capacity.

In 2016, Xinjiang launched serious illness insurance for urban and rural residents and urban workers, and personal accident insurance was made available to all residents free of charge, it said.

KEY WORDS: Xinjiang