Since 2012 China has redoubled its effort to reform the medical and healthcare system; it has accelerated the comprehensive reform of public hospitals and the price reform of drugs and medical service; it has also implemented serious illness insurance policies covering both urban and rural residents, adopted a multi-layer diagnosis and treatment mechanism, and improved the policies regarding the production, distribution and use of drugs. On October 29, 2015, enhancing public health and fitness was formally introduced in the communiqué of the Fifth Plenary Session of the 18th CPC Central Committee. In August 2016, at the National Health and Fitness Conference, it was stated that the government will "follow the correct guidelines for promoting health and fitness services, focus on lower-level medical institutions, strive to reform and make innovations in the medical sector, prioritize disease prevention, lay equal emphasis on Western medicine and TCM, incorporate health promotion in all policies, and involve all citizens in promoting public health and thereby bring health benefits to all." In October 2016, the state issued "Healthy China 2030" Planning Outline, a guiding document on promoting public health and fitness, with plans to make the Chinese people healthier.
The development in the field of health services has brought concrete benefits to the Chinese people. The average life expectancy of the Chinese rose to 76.5 years in 2016 from 67.9 years in 1981; maternal mortality dropped from 88.9 per 100,000 persons in 1990 to 19.9 per 100,000 persons in 2016; and infant mortality declined from 34.7 per 1,000 in 1981 to 7.5 per 1,000 in 2016. The main health indicators of the Chinese are generally better than the average level of middle-and high-income countries, and China has achieved the UN's Millennium Goals in this regard ahead of schedule. Furthermore, China has established a complete medical and health system that is guided by the Constitution, based on civil laws and regulations, laws and administrative regulations on health, and local regulations, and directed by the outlines, programs, and plans of the health sector. The system has proved effective in maintaining sound doctor-patient relations, addressing medical disputes with impartiality, and ensuring citizens' right to health.
The decision from the meeting says talent evaluation and skills assessment mechanisms will be refined, with professional capabilities as the criteria. Income distribution methods for technical workers will be formulated with a focus on their skills and achievements in innovation to encourage skills-based wealth creation and income increases. An investment process contributed by the government, businesses and society will be established to provide more financial support for professional skills training.
The reform of the medical sector has produced noticeable results. Within a short period of time, China was able to achieve the following: developing the world's largest basic medical insurance network that covers all citizens, providing insurance for patients of serious diseases, enabling patients to receive emergency medical services, and improving medical assistance. All this has provided institutional guarantee that patients have access to medical services. The state has gained effective control over serious infectious diseases, has kept the spread of AIDS at a low level, has achieved the tuberculosis control target of the UN's Millennium Goals ahead of schedule, has reduced the number of schistosome infections to the lowest level in history, and became a polio-free country in 2000. China set up the world's largest online direct reporting system of notifiable epidemics and public health emergencies in 2015, and the average reporting time has been shortened to four hours from five days before the introduction of the system.
"Professional skills training must focus on the weaknesses in China's industry upgrades. Costs must be reduced and institutional incentives put in place for skills training by enterprises themselves to produce highly skilled professionals," Li said.