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Medical services vital in poverty alleviation

Updated: Jun 9,2016 3:44 PM

The Chinese government will take new measures to provide more medical financial aid for residents in poverty-stricken areas, following a decision by the State Council executive meeting on June 8, presided over by Premier Li Keqiang.

Those at the meeting noted that addressing the shortage of medical services in poor areas is of great significance to alleviate poverty.

The number of people living in poverty due to disease accounted for 42 percent of the total of 70 million poor on record, according to a nationwide health investigation carried out by the Office of Poverty Alleviation and Development. Disease is the biggest cause of people’s poor status.

It is easier to provide aid to people in poverty as a result of disaster or unaffordable tuition fees. However, it is difficult to help a household stuck in poverty by disease.

In the list of the causes for poverty, the top 10 diseases, such as leukemia and liver cancer, once diagnosed, will perhaps drive a well-off urban household into mental and economic despair, let alone households in rural areas.

China now sees not only a shortage of per capita medical supplies, but also uneven allocation of resources and incomplete insurance coverage.

For this reason, the government decided to put the task of improving medical services for people living in poverty as one of its top priorities, which is essential to China’s poverty-relief policy and social security.

At the executive meeting, the State Council urged the easing of the rural poor’s medical burdens and the carrying out of different treatments for serious illness and chronic diseases. In the years ahead, the government will subsidize personal expenditure of farmers under the new rural cooperative medical care system, raise the reimbursement ratio of hospitalization expenses and increase support to people seeking insurance for serious illness.

The government will endeavor to surmount all difficulties, adding the entire rural poor population into the system of assistance for treating major and serious diseases, and providing basic medical allowances for people with disabilities for rehabilitation nursing.

At present, the direction to tackling problems of society has been determined the right way, and in the future, more targeted measures to lift people out of poverty are expected to come.