Although China has been enjoying a remarkably low child and mother mortality rate when compared to other developing countries, children that have critical diseases are often left on their own to survive with minimal health care currently provided by the Chinese government. China’s medical care isn’t necessarily advanced enough; it is just that the families of the majority of children with critical diseases cannot afford them. The low amount coverage along with the fact that families have to pay the medical upfront before being reimbursed left many unfortunate children to sometimes die without any medical help. Several non-governmental organizations and charities are providing help and financial relief to these families. This article will draw a quick picture of the healthcare of Children in China.
Healthcare of Children in China
If children in the rural contracted a critical disease, they are able to reimburse only up to 70,000 yuan or $31,700. The usual medical bill often far exceeds the meager number. Children who have less serious diseases are often reimbursed much less than that. To add up to the difficulty, many families to seek medical treatment outside of their home regions, which often have better technology and facilities, will receive no reimbursement. Another difficulty is that families have to pay the medical bill upfront on their own. This is often not possible when these families are merely making minimum wage and do not have a stack of cash lying around. Cheng Siyi who has a blood disorder needs 624,000 yuan or $96,000 to go through a bone marrow transplant operation. Her family receives little to no financial assistance from the government. The father has to resort to borrowing money from relatives, lone sharks and rally around the city to ask for a donation. Siyi, unfortunately, is not the only child who is facing with such dire circumstance with no help from the government.
Leftover Children in China
One fifth of Chinese children is leftover children whose parents work in other cities to earn money. Leftover children amount to a whopping 60 million with 3% or 2.1 million live alone. The outdated Hu Kou system, which doesn’t give children many rights in urban cities, including education, force the parents to leave their children back in the rural counties. All of these children and families earn minimal income and certainly cannot afford any medical bills if these children were to contract any diseases. As such, more than half of the children who died of diseases in 2011, did not receive any medical treatment. 54% of children who contracted critical diseases died in the rural area. A number significantly higher than their urban counterparts.
Non-Governmental Organizations Providing Reliefs
The Chinese Rural Kids Care or CRKC is one of the several non-governmental organizations who wish to provide reliefs for these families. CRKC recently launched a new project, which provides premium up to 200,000 yuan or $31,700 in addition to the premium that the government covers to children with critical diseases in rural areas. CRKC selected children aged 6-16 in Hefeng country, Hubei province as the first trial group back in 2012. Not only families will be reimbursed with more money (200,000 yuan in addition to what the government provides), the reimbursement will also be paid in installments by the insurance provider to relieve the financial burden those families face. Melody Zhang from Children’s Hope Foundation also proposes national health insurance for children up to the age of 18. The plan will ensure children will have access to affordable healthcare if required. However, the plan hasn’t been approved and pushed for the government so the future of it remains unseen.
Despite the medical advances in China, many children are still dying without medical treatments. This has less to do with technology and unfortunately more to do with money. The minimal healthcare the Chinese government is providing its children causes concern for many families. Over half of the children who contracted critical diseases in rural areas died without seeking medical treatments because they cannot afford them. Although many NGOs have stepped up to provide relief, there must be a change in the healthcare system for children in China to be able to really relieve the burden of these families.
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