China’s NCD prevention and control policies developed steadily over the last 30 years, and the “Healthy China” strategy was elevated to become a national strategy. From 1990 to 2020, China’s NCDs prevention and control policies experienced a rapid development. The number of policies issued at the highest levels such as the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, the State Council, and the National People’s Congress gradually increased, accounting for one-third of the total number of policies on NCDs. The issuing department changed from single ministry or commission in the early stage to multiple ministries and commissions jointly issuing documents. Regarding the types of policies, most were environment-oriented, but supply-oriented and demand-oriented policies were also increasing.
The policy focus shifted from addressing NCDs to comprehensive prevention and control of their risk factors, creating a favorable policy environment for NCDs prevention and control. In particular, in 2016, the CPC Central Committee and the State Council incorporated the implementation of a comprehensive NCD prevention and control strategy into the Outline of the Plan for Healthy China 2030 (1-2). In the 15 special actions under the Healthy China Action (2019–2030) (3), 4 actions were targeted at NCDs prevention and treatment and another 6 actions such as reasonable diet, national fitness, and tobacco control were aimed at interventions on health-influencing factors for the prevention of NCDs. “Healthy China” was upgraded as a priority national strategy, NCDs prevention was placed at a more prominent position, and policies shifted from being “disease-centered” to “health-centered.”
Fairness in health was promoted and holistic NCD prevention and control was achieved. The China Healthy Lifestyle for All (CHLA) and the National Basic Public Health Services Projects (NBPHSP) are two national strategies and actions covering all Chinese people ( (4-5). They are important measures to improve the health of residents and truly demonstrate that the Chinese government has taken concrete actions to fulfill its responsibilities in the field of public health so as to safeguard people’s health in an all-round and life course way. With relatively small investments, the country protected the health and safety of about one-sixth of the world’s population. Government investment was increasing year by year to ensure equality in funding standards. Central government funds were allocated in priority to poverty-stricken areas in the western and central regions to ensure fairness and accessibility of healthcare.
The service mode of NCD management was transformed. The pattern of waiting for the call for services at primary medical institutions was transformed. They became more active in providing services and promoted family doctor contract services. Relying on the team of general practitioners, they signed agreements with NCDs patients so as to provide them with continuous, personalized, and comprehensive services. Medical communities were set up and a hierarchical diagnosis and treatment system was advanced, which resulted in the gradual formation of a treatment pattern characterized by initial diagnosis by primary medical facilities, hierarchical diagnosis and treatment, and two-way referral. For example, patients with minor illness seek medical service from community health facilities, those with major illness seek help from higher-level hospitals, and those in recovery can go back to the primary health facilities so that every household has a “family doctor” and everyone has access to basic medical services (6).
Information technology had been applied to help realize the whole-process management of NCD. IT opportunities and technology have developed rapidly in recent years and have also been fully used for NCDs prevention and control. For example, the mainstream media and new media (Weibo, WeChat official account, short videos, etc.) were used to carry out various forms of publicity and education on NCDs prevention and treatment. The Internet was integrated with the health industry to try out new modes of health management services for NCDs. Information technology was used to achieve whole-process NCDs management from information collection to evaluation of intervention effects, which made medical and health services convenient, efficient, and sustainable (7).
The health literacy and action capability of residents was much improved so that they could take the first responsibilities for their health. China made extensive efforts to publicize and advance the implementation of the CHLA and the NBPHSP, and developed and promoted applicable health technologies and support tools, which helped people to foster healthy behaviors and lifestyles. It built a health management model characterized by centering on the individual self, interpersonal mutual assistance, social support, and government guidance, which greatly enhanced people’s capabilities to maintain and promote their own health, and implanted the concept of “taking the first responsibilities for one’s own health” into people’s mind so that everyone can gradually become conscious and capable of protecting their own health (8-9).