Poor to receive help to relieve the burden of disease

(China Daily)The top health department released a plan on Friday to ease the burden of disease in poorand remote areas.

The plan will cover about 20 million poverty-stricken people in 26 provincial regions,including Chongqing, Sichuan, Guizhou, Yunnan and Tibet, according to the National Healthand Family Planning Commission.

Major illnesses like heart attacks, chronic diseases like diabetes and high blood pressure,and severe diseases like cancer are three major targets in the plan.

Under the four-year plan, the commission will choose pilot hospitals and set protocol toensure that every major illness has a certain treatment and standard fee.

Apart from improving medical treatment in pilot hospitals, priority will be given to poorpatients who have those diseases.

A health card will be linked to every resident whose annual income is below the country'spoverty threshold of 3,000 yuan ($436) in those regions. Annual health checks will beavailable to those with a card.

Moreover, the commission will encourage local health departments to assign "familydoctors" to follow the health conditions of card holders with chronic diseases.

For poor families with patients suffering from serious diseases, the commission willcooperate with local social security and financial sectors to give extra support.

"Nearly half of China's poverty is a result of the burden of disease," said Wang Peian, vice-minister of the commission.

The commission has carried out surveys and will draft a guideline to help each region.

"Disease and poverty are two crucial elements that determine people's happiness. The planwill be an important step for the whole country to strive for prosperity," said XiaGengsheng, an official from the State Council Leading Group Office of Poverty Alleviationand Development.

China has lifted nearly 700 million people out of poverty during the past 30 years. It stillhad more than 55 million people living in poverty at the end of 2015, according to a whitepaper issued last year.

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