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China Keen On Ensuring Universal Healthcare

by Gopalan on September 28, 2009 at 9:11 AM
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China Keen On Ensuring Universal Healthcare

While President Barack Obama is battling hard to usher in a relatively equitable healthcare in the US, China is also making similar noises - though it should sound ironical for a supposedly communist country where access to healthcare is taken for granted.

Chinese Vice Premier Li Keqiang has called for orderly implementation of the country's health care reform.

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   Li, also head of the State Council's leading group on health care system reform, made the remarks at a symposium in Jiangxi's capital city Nanchang on Saturday.

    Li underscored major projects to be carried out to push forward the reform by the year-end:

    -- The expansion of basic medical insurance coverage to 72 million more urban workers and unemployed residents, and ensuring at least 90 percent of the rural population to be covered.
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    -- Assistance for the vaccination of 23 million people below the age of 15 against hepatitis B and providing free folic acid supplements for 11.8 million rural women who intend to get pregnant or are in the early stages of pregnancy to prevent birth defects.

    -- Improving primary health care facilities, including county and township-level hospitals, village clinics, and community health centers.

    -- Ensuring about 30 percent of government-owned community health institutes and county-level hospitals use medicines on an essential drug list and sell them at controlled low prices.

    -- A pilot reform in about 100 state-run hospitals by the year-end to draw experience from trial projects to push forward the reform across the country.

    China's three-year plan for health care reform, involving an investment of 850 billion yuan (124 billion U.S. dollars), was unveiled in April. It aims to lay a solid foundation for equitable and universal access to essential health care for everyone in the country by 2020, Xinhua reports.



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