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China to boost the beds, staff to handle health care strains

A doctor draws the blood from the neck of a patient at an emergency room of a hospital in shanghai.

(Reuters)

SHANGHAI – China will add 89,000 new hospital beds, and train 140,000 new midwives and nurses to cope with the pressure on the healthcare system brought in part by the relaxation of the one-child-policy”, state media said on Wednesday.

Concerns about the ageing of the population, China issued guidelines at the end of 2015, so that all parents have two children and now need to meet fresh demand for public services, such as child healthcare, and primary education, the official Xinhua news agency said.

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As part of its 2016-2020 health “five-year plan”, China aims to increase the total number of nurses to 4.45 million at the end of the decade, Xinhua said.

The new plan, published late on Tuesday, said the demographic problems were likely to be more pronounced in the next five years, as a result of China’s ageing population, increasing urbanisation rates and coverage of the health care gaps in some regions.

He said China’s average life expectancy is expected to increase from one year to 77.3 years, at the end of 2020, while the population was expected to rise to around 1.42 billion, an increase of 1.37 billion at the end of 2015.

China also wants to cut child mortality to less than 18 per 100,000 births, from 20.1 in 2015, and the mortality rates of diseases such as cancer and diabetes were also on the expectation that 10 percent over the period 2016-2020.

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