Thursday, April 9, 2009

It’s the Time to Care About Our People’s Health.

by Julia Zhu

Millions of uninsured, inadequate medical resources, unequal access to care, expensive and unaffordable health care — China knows all about it.

Health infrastructure in the poor countryside is especially creaky. In 2005, 25% of public-health resources were devoted to rural residents, even though they made up roughly 60% of the population, the Wall Street Journal notes.

Most Chinese normally need to spend over 100 RMB out of their own pockets (about 14 USD) on the treatment for cold in hospitals in China. You may want to pause for a second before you say it is not that bad. For many rural Chinese, that amount of money may be 1/5 of their whole month income. I hear many people say “I am just too poor to get sick.”

China’s official Xinhua news agency framed the problems in pretty stark terms:

    The health care sector is one of the weak links in China’s social welfare system. Soaring medical fees, a lack of access to affordable medical services, poor doctor-patient relations and low medical insurance coverage compelled the government to launch the new round of reforms.

China announced plans Wednesday to build thousands of new hospitals and put a clinic in every village in the next three years, the first steps in a decade-long reform plan to provide universal health care coverage.

"By 2011, we will remarkably improve the accessibility of basic medical care and health care services and alleviate the burden of the general public for medical costs," Vice Health Minister Zhang Mao said at a briefing for reporters.

The reforms also include plans to build 29,000 new township hospitals, and 2,000 at the county level.

We're worried China will be the first country that will become old and sick before it becomes rich.

Health reform, a good move!

No comments:

Post a Comment