With the largest population in the world, China is managing major health system reforms against a background of rapid economic and institutional change. This has posed a serious challenge in increasing access to health services, especially for poor people living in both rural areas and as internal migrants.
FHS Phase 1
In the first phase of FHS China, the focus was on the merger of the New Rural Cooperative Medical Scheme (NCMS) with the Medical Financial Assistance Scheme (MFA) for improve the rural poor’s access to essential health services, to reduce their economic burden of disease and to prevent the vicious circle of "disease caused by poverty and poverty caused by disease."
There was a big gap in the integration process of NCMS and MFA because the two schemes that target rural residents were administered by different government departments, the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Civil Affairs, respectively. After years of work, the official policy was issued by the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Civil Affairs was in 2009, which is an important milestone in the development of NCMS and MFA system.
FHS Phase 2
In addition to insurance schemes, one of the five priorities on China's health reform agenda is to build a national essential drug system that ensures the rational use and effective delivery of essential drugs and that reduces the financial burden of drug cost.
FHS China will shift its work to this key area. The aim is to identify existing and impeding problems emerging during the reform on drug delivery system in rural areas, and to find out the linkage and conflicts between the drug delivery system and other functions of health system. With this knowledge we will propose suggestions from the perspective of strengthening the whole health system on how to eliminate technical and institutional obstacles and improve the access to clinical preferred, essential, safe and effective, affordable and rational drugs for rural residents.