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Public Health. 2010 Apr;124(4):206-17. doi: 10.1016/j.puhe.2010.01.015.

Establishment and evaluation of a model of a community health service in an underdeveloped area of China.

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Zhongguancun Haidian Science Park Postdoctoral DHC Digital Technology Co Ltd., PR China.



To develop and evaluate an applicable model for a community health service (CHS) in an underdeveloped area of China that ensures efficient, convenient and affordable primary healthcare access for all residents.


The current study was carried out in Puyang, a typical medium-sized city in central-eastern China. Based on the healthcare requirements of the residents in Puyang, a CHS network was set up and its operation was evaluated from 1999 to 2006. The system is characterized by its focus on community health education (CHE).


Firstly, 8231 residents, selected at random, were surveyed to investigate the healthcare requirements of the local residents. Meanwhile, the operation of the pre-existing healthcare resources was investigated in Puyang. Based on the information gained, a network-based CHS system was proposed and established, with CHE as the major focus. This study compared CHS operation prior to and after establishment of the network. Finally, an analytic hierarchy process based evaluation model was applied to evaluate the operation of the CHS network.


There was a high prevalence (86.98 per thousand) of chronic diseases among the residents who participated in this investigation. The majority (84.39%) of the residents who had healthcare requirements resorted to professional health care; the other residents did not have access to health services. Among those residents who sought professional treatment, 71.3% visited primary healthcare institutions. This information reflects the enormous requirement for a CHS in primary health care but the lack of accessibility among the residents; this motivated the authors to establish a system to solve the problem. The improvement in CHS operation after the network was established suggests the importance of a network for optimizing the primary healthcare system. The improvement was indicated by better understanding of the residents regarding the CHS, and enhanced capability of self-monitoring for chronic diseases such as hypertension after the network was established. Moreover, the residents' knowledge of health care was significantly increased and, accordingly, the incidence of health risk behaviour was reduced after the network was established. Furthermore, the CHE index between 1999 and 2006 showed good correlation (r=0.988, p<0.005) with the CHS index, suggesting the important role of CHE in CHS development.


A network-characterized CHS system was established in Puyang, and improved the primary healthcare situation. This study provides a feasible model for the development of a CHS in medium and small cities in underdeveloped parts of China.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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