Service functions of private community health stations in China: A comparison analysis with government-sponsored community health stations
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In China, with the restructuring of health care system moving forward, private community health facilities have been playing a complementary but increasingly important role in providing public health and basic medical care services in urban areas. However, only limited evidence is available concerning the service functions of private community health facilities in China. The aim of this study was to explore the functions of private community health stations (PCHSs) to provide evidence-based recommendations for policy-making and practice in the development of urban community health services systems. A total of 818 PCHSs and 4320 government-sponsored community health stations (GCHSs) located in 28 cities of China were investigated in 2008. The percentages of stations that provided health services and the annual workload per community health worker (CHW) were compared between the two types of institutions. The results showed that the percentages of PCHSs providing public health services were significantly higher than those of GCHSs (P<0.05); but no significant differences were found in the percentages of basic medical services providing between PCHSs and GCHSs (P>0.05). The annual workloads of all the public health services and basic medical services per CHW in PCHSs were lighter than those in GCHSs (P<0.05), except for resident health records establishment and health education materials distribution (P>0.05). At present, the GCHSs are still the mainstream in urban China, which will last for a long period in future. However, our findings showed that the annual workloads of CHWs in PCHSs were no heavier than those in GCHSs, and the PCHSs were willing to provide public health services. In view of current inadequacy of health resources in China, it is feasible to further develop PCHSs under the guidance of the government, given that PCHSs can perform the basic functions of community health services, which is useful for the formation of public-private partnerships (PPP) and the improvement of community health services.
Key wordsprivate community health stations government-sponsored community health stations services functions
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