Intended for healthcare professionals


Challenge of China’s rural health

BMJ 2016; 353 doi: (Published 12 April 2016) Cite this as: BMJ 2016;353:i2003
  1. Jun Han, resident surgeon,
  2. Meng-Chao Wu, professor of surgery,
  3. Tian Yang, professor of surgery
  1. Eastern Hepatobiliary Surgery Hospital, Second Military Medical University, Shanghai 200438, China
  1. Correspondence to: T Yang ehbh2105{at}

Rural health has been sacrificed for economic prosperity

Although China has created an economic miracle over the past 30 years, the resulting adverse effects have become a thorny problem for the entire nation. People living in rural areas, where mortality remains substantially higher than in urban areas, have been hardest hit.

One of the main reasons is the rising tide of industrialisation and urbanisation that drives factories and other sources of pollution from urban areas to rural areas, seriously contaminating the water, air, and land and threatening the health of rural residents.1 Tuberculosis, malaria, bird flu, and other infectious diseases have staged a comeback in some rural areas, and the incidence of various malignancies keeps rising.1 One report identifies 459 official and unofficial “cancer villages” across 29 of the 31 provincial administrative units …

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