All Chinese patients who have tuberculosis (TB) and are either infectious or fatally sick will not be charged for diagnosis and treatment, the Ministry of Health reiterated on March 24, the 21st World TB Day.
Since 1981, relevant State Council organs have made a ten-year national TB-prevention-and-treatment project and TB-control strategy. In an anti-TB project made in 2001 for the next ten years, the State Council stated: “To give more help to TB victims in the west of China and in poverty-stricken areas, there is a reduced treatment charge, especially to those who are insolvent”.
To implement the project, the central government set up a 40 million yuan annual fund and started up international TB financing projects with the help of World Bank loans and UK donations.
1n 1982, the World Health Organization and Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease (IUATLD) named March 24 as “World TB Day,” which was formally recognized by the United Nations in 1998. The theme selected for World TB Day -- March 24,2003 is "People with TB" and the slogan is "DOTS cured me – it will cure you too!"
China ranks second in terms of TB patients, after India, among the 22 highest-TB-burdened countries in the world. About eighty percent of TB victims live in rural areas, and are struck by the poverty that TB brings. According to statistics from a survey in 2000, 400 million people are infected with tubercle bacillus, and TB patients rose to 5 million, among whom, 2 million are contagious.
TB kills 130,000 a year and will plague another 20 to 30 million people in the next 10 years and may bring huge damage to China’s society and economy.
(China.org.cn by Li Liangdu, March 26, 2003)