Health and Social Welfare  
High quality public health care

Public health care in Macao is comparable with those of developed countries. According to official statistics in 2000, the ratios between doctors and residents, nurses and residents, hospital beds to residents were 1 to 439, 1 to 464 and 1 to 391 respectively. In 2000 the general mortality rate was 3.1 per thousand inhabitants while the infant mortality rate was 2.9 deaths per thousand births, much lower than the mean of those of neighbouring regions.

Average life expectancy for Macao's inhabitants is 75.32 years for men and 79.89 years for women.

The Macao SAR Government has invested vast resources in health care. In 2000, US $ 150 million, 9.25% of the government budget has been allocated to health care. Macao possesses modern medical services network, with one public hospital, one private non-profit-making hospital, health centres and private clinics providing services for its inhabitants.

Conde de S. Januário Hospital and Kiang Wu Hospital

There are two hospitals in Macao, which offer top quality health care to the entire population.

The Public Conde de S. Januário Hospital, which provides free health care for the Macao population, possesses modern facilities. Services are divided into 22 specialties, four support departments as well as the hospitalization, administrative and pharmaceutical departments. In June 2000, there are 219 doctors, 493 nurses and 541 beds in this hospital. The hospital altogether received 164,357 out-patients and 12,910 patients at the casualty ward.

Cande de S. Januário Hospital provides free health and medical services for pregnant women, women in labour, elderly people over 65, children under 10, primary and secondary school students, civil servants, patients suffering from contagious diseases, cancer patients, psychiatric patients, destitute individuals or families, drug addicts and prisoners.

The Kiang Wu Hospital, a charitable organization, together with Conde de S. Januário Hospital, health centres and private clinics, are shouldering the responsibility of providing medical care for the Macao people. The government finances Kiang Wu Hospital in the form of paying the Kiang Wu Hospital to take in some of the patients of the public hospital. In 2001 the government subsidised the Kiang Wu Hospital with 120 million patacas. In order to improve its facilities, the Kiang Wu Hospital raised 230 million patacas to build a new section, which was completed and came into operation in November 1999. The government contributed 170 million patacas towards the construction fee. "Hospice and Palliative Centre", established by the Social Welfare Bureau, the Health Bureau and the Kiang Wu Hospital, started providing hospice care to terminal patients on 21st August 2000.

Health Centres

At the moment there are eight Health Centres spread throughout the Territory, two of which are located on Taipa given the degree of development on the island. All of the Health Centres provide free basic medical care to residents. One of the Health Centres has an independent clinic offering consultations in traditional Chinese medicine.

Following are some of the various services offered by the Health Centres: Pregnancy clinic - 13,723 pregnant women in 2000 used this service. Family planning - 35,843 patients used this service in 2000. Paediatric clinic - provide treatment to children under ten years old. In 2000, 76,116 infants were treated, of which 17,415 are under one year old. Vaccinations are offered against tuberculosis and hepatitis B. Adults' clinic - in 2000, 230,098 patients were treated.

The Public Health Laboratory

This Laboratory opened in 1985 and in 1998 the facilities were renovated and the equipment upgraded. The Laboratory has served as a model in the Asia-Pacific region for the World Health Organisation.

The Blood Transfusion Centre

This Centre aims to provide enough blood products of the appropriate quality to make the Territory of Macao self-sufficient. In order to achieve this, the Blood Transfusion Centre organises campaigns to enhance public awareness of this issued. There has been no financial incentive for blood donors in Macao since 1988 and currently 28,000 individuals are registered with the Centre which can meet Macao's average annual demand of 8,000 units of blood.

Prospects for Developing Health Care

Plans for improving the standard of health care in Macao include the following points:

  • Setting up two wards in Conde de S. Januário Hospital, one for infectious diseases, and one for oncology, and also introduce telemedicine for medical care and diagnostics;
  • Opening a psychiatric ward on Taipa Island;
  • Recruiting an international consulting firm to carry out an assessment of Macao's health system in the 21st century, defining mid- to long-term health care policies, and setting up a unit for training health professionals. At the same time, the creation of a Emergency Medical System (EMS) will be studied.

Fostering co-operation between international institutions, countries and regions (particularly the World Health Organisation, the Mainland, the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region and Portugal) in the field of early warning for epidemics, medical treatment, professional training, technology and the academic sector.

Social Welfare

The Macao Social Welfare Institute co-ordinates a wide network of public assistance centres, and it works in close co-operation with the Church and civilian society in building and operating old folks' homes, day centres for the elderly, crèches, youth centres and rehabilitation centres for the handicapped, etc.

The Social Security Fund receives its income primarily from employers and employees, in addition to an annual subsidy from the Government, which enables it to give those in need unemployment benefits, old age pensions, invalid benefits and other kinds of assistance through a well organised network for social support.

The social welfare policies of the Macao Special Administrative Region are based on four principles: ensuring equality, efficiency, mutual support and participation. The public sector seeks to co-operate with civic associations in promoting various social services that are practical and suitable, with a view to supporting destitute individuals and families, and those sectors of society that are unprotected, namely children, the elderly, the handicapped, the mentally ill and drug addicts, in order to enable them to rejoin society, live independently and enjoy an improved quality of life.