Editor's note: Despite challenges brought on by COVID-19 over the past three years, China still witnessed strong development momentum in several respects. Against this backdrop, CGTN is launching a three-part animated series, "China UP," to showcase the nation's rise in specific areas. This is the third episode in the series, focusing on China's healthcare.
Chinese people have been living longer and healthier lives over the past decades. Some key health metrics have kept improving even during the past three years of the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to World Population Prospects, life expectancy has risen steadily in China. The average lifespan rose from 76.97 years in 2015 to a record high of 78.78 years in 2023 – an increase of almost two years. And while the COVID-19 pandemic was sweeping across the world, China saw its average life expectancy climb from 77.3 years in 2019 to 78.07 years in 2020, and to 78.21 years in 2021.
Nonetheless, the discrepancy in life expectancy at birth between different countries remains significant. As a developing country, China has shorter lifespans than its developed counterparts, but the numbers keep growing and are higher than the global average. Life expectancy worldwide reached 72.8 years in 2019, and is projected to reach 77.2 years in 2050.
Meanwhile, China's maternal and infant mortality rates reached historic lows. Its maternal mortality rate plummeted from 26.1 per 100,000 in 2012 to 16.1 in 2021, according to the National Health Commission. Infant mortality halved during the same period, from 10.3 per 100,000 births to just five. Both indicators have met the UN's Sustainable Development Goals.
China has also been making continuous improvements in its medical system. In the government work report submitted to the national legislature for deliberation last week, China vows to improve elderly care services and refine policies supporting childbirth. To better satisfy people's needs, more quality medical resources will be channeled to the community level.
Healthcare determines quality of life, and China is firm in its efforts to foster longer and healthier lives for its people.
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