About Jeremy LimJeremy Lim is Director of Global Health at the Saw Swee Hock School of Public Health, National University of Singapore.
Over 50 years ago, a pioneering medical system was launched in the People’s Republic of China (PRC). Known as the “barefoot doctors” scheme, the program liberalized healthcare beyond doctors and allowed some 1.5 million community health workers to practice basic medicine after 3–6 months of training. This effectively created a national network of healthcare services for the very first time, increasing rural healthcare coverage to 90%.
In October 2018, the world will commemorate the 40th anniversary of the seminal Declaration of Alma-Ata where the aspiration of “health care for all” was boldly declared. The realities have sadly fallen far short of the rhetoric—half the world lacks access to essential health services and 100 million people fall into financial catastrophe due to medical bills.
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