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Equity and the utilization of health services: Report of an eight-province survey in China

Gail Henderson, John Akin, Li Zhiming, Jin Shuigao, Ma Haijiang and Ge Keyou

Social Science & Medicine, 1994, vol. 39, issue 5, 687-699

Abstract: This paper investigates equity with respect to one component of welfare in China--the provision and use of health services. Based upon a large-scale survey of almost 16,000 individuals in eight provinces in China, we examine a sub-sample of working-age adults who have identified themselves as injured or ill during the four weeks prior to being interviewed. We found that, beyond the level of severity of the reported condition, very few individual-level factors are related to the use of services when ill or injured. Only gender (female) and employment in state-run enterprises are associated with higher patterns of use. These results suggest that China has achieved a very wide distribution of clinics and other services at the local level, and that they are widely used by those who identify need for them. It is rare to be over half an hour away by bike from some form of care and the majority of care appears to be reasonably inexpensive. This broad availability of services contrasts with recent reports from China stressing declining accessibility, and paints a picture of relatively equal access to health care.

Keywords: health; care; access; equity; China; survey (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 1994
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