China City Profile: Shanghai

How does the city ensure the health of its citizen by providing healthcare and medical services?

Background and Overview: Shanghai, China

Shanghai, a famous international metropolis, is one of the leading cities in the world with a towering population of 24 million. It acts as the global and most dominant center of East China; the heart of economics, finance, culture, science, international trade and technology. The rapid development and modernization of the city has contributed to its country due to the city's favorable port location and economic potential.  In the First Opium War after the British Victory over China, Shanghai was one of the first cities to open to foreign trade, flourishing as the center of commerce amidst the east and the west. However, along with Shanghai's prosperity came problems that can seriously affect the good name of the city (Shanghai Travel China: Facts, Attractions, City Map, Weather, Tips. N.p., n.d.).

General Healthcare Service

To accommodate the large numbers of expats living in Shanghai, there are international hospitals and clinics set up all throughout the city. These facilities are set up as joint-ventures, providing medical equipment with modern technology, a hygienic environment, well-trained doctors from the west and Chinese doctors and staff who  not only speak English, but are aware and sensitive to the differences in cultures between the patients and the hospital staff, which contributes to having better manners in general. There is a wide range of services for general, specialty, both in and outpatient are provided. When major surgeries are performed, the medical facilities are linked with major local hospitals which will provide full medical support when needed. In special cases where the medical treatment could not be provided in Shanghai, patients will be sent to Hong Kong or back to their country of origin (Living in Shanghai: An Expat's Guide. N.p., n.d.).

The costs

Dentist: RMB 500

General Practitioner: RMB 700

Pediatrician: RMB 700

Specialist: RMB 1,000

Gynecologist: RMB 1,000

(Living in Shanghai: An Expat's Guide. N.p., n.d.)

Questions: How does the city ensure the health of its citizens by providing healthcare packages and medical services? How do the medical services work?

As a renowned city which is receiving more and more attention all over the world, standards are naturally raised, especially the standards of hygiene. Despite having one of the highest hygiene standards in the world, some regions still have not reached the quality of the modernized nations (The Development of Community Health Care in Shanghai. N.p., n.d.).

Common diseases in Shanghai include dietary diseases, respiratory illnesses, influenza and H1N1 and sexually transmitted diseases that are increasing in the city. The main concerns of Shanghai's health are respiratory illnesses due to the PM 2.5 fine particulates which can seriously damage one's lungs and heavy pollution of vehicles and factories and the dietary diseases and illnesses which are caused by low hygiene standards of food and water (Living in Shanghai: An Expat's Guide. N.p., n.d.).

The urban health care system development predates to the 1950s, promptly after the People's Republic of China has been found. Playing a very important role, the health care system provided basic medical services to the residents of Shanghai and was one of the best in China, representing the development pattern of the expanding country (Shanghai Travel China: Facts, Attractions, City Map, Weather, Tips. N.p., n.d.).

The Emergency Ambulance Service:

None of the hospitals located in Shanghai own any ambulances, and all the ambulances are run by the Shanghai Medical First Aid Center, or the Shanghai Ambulance Center. These vehicles used for medical transport are located all across the city, with a 24-hour service for dispatch. The people calling the service can request which hospital they are taken to. However, these services are charged, and people who use the ambulance services have to pay the driver upon arrival at the hospital in cash. Also, the ambulance services takes 8 minutes to arrive in urban areas in Shanghai, and it may be faster to hire a taxi or cab to drive the people to an E.R. (Living in Shanghai: An Expat's Guide. N.p., n.d.).

Explanation and Analysis

I think that this system is used in Shanghai because it has been established for a long time and it has not been updated yet. This service system benefits the hospitals because they do not have to spend money on buying ambulances, hiring drivers, restocking medical materials in the ambulances and delegating staff to be responsible  for taking care of the patient in the ambulance. To have a separate system, ambulances could be very efficient and it could work out really well. However, this ambulance service system is not satisfactory, considering how well-developed Shanghai is and how their medical services are one of the best in the country. It takes 8 minutes for an ambulance to arrive to the location, and the person who is hurt may have already died in these few crucial minutes.

Looking into the future

It would be ideal if the time taken for the ambulance to arrive is shortened. With the help of the navigation system that China has developed and the sirens that signals cars on the road to let the ambulance through, this goal could be reached. Instead of having a general ambulance service for the whole city, each hospital should own at least 10 ambulances so as to be ready for any patients who is in need of the hospital's services can directly contact them, instead of having to direct the ambulance driver to the specific location.


"Shanghai Travel China: Facts, Attractions, City Map, Weather, Tips."Shanghai Travel China: Facts, Attractions, City Map, Weather, Tips. N.p., n.d. Web. 06 May 2015.

Nishikawaa. Are You Suprised ? World Health Organization. The Development of Community Health Care in Shanghai. N.p., n.d. Web.

"What to Do during Medical Emergency?" Living in Shanghai: An Expat's Guide. N.p., n.d. Web.

"Healthcare in Shanghai." Living in Shanghai: An Expat's Guide. N.p., n.d. Web.

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