A Community Medical Cooperative (CMC) is a community-based organization owned and controlled by its members. Its mission is to ensure members’ access to a specified package of efficient and appropriate healthcare services. Drawing on experiences from a similar project conducted in 2004-2006 in Luochuan County in Shanxi Province, the HSPH China Initiative will work with the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences in Yongji County in Shanxi Province to conduct a baseline household survey of healthcare needs and access (performed in April 2007). As part of the project, this information is intended to help the community establish CMCs and to vigorously evaluate and demonstrate the process and impact of the interventions. We intend to achieve the following concrete objectives:
(1) increase access to primary healthcare by providing and evaluating data to help the community establish a network of health stations owned and operated by the CMCs;
(2) increase accountability of the primary healthcare system to the local people by empowering members of the CMCs to control it;
(3) improve people’s health and health-seeking behaviors through a series of CMCs-initiated health promotion activities and help reduce poverty as a result;
(4) and enhance community social capital by CMCs.
If successful, this project will provide operational models of consumer-driven healthcare in the world’s largest country, where grassroots democracy has recently gained momentum. This project will also generate useful experiences for designing and implementing innovative national and international development policies. Partial funding support for this project is provided by a gift from the Dillon Fund.