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Equal Inoculation for Migrants' Children
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The children of migrants are entitled to the same government inoculations as their urban peers, said a senior official with the Chinese Ministry of Health (MOH) in Beijing on Monday.

MOH spokesman Mao Qun'an said the government would also improve inoculation services to people in remote and poor areas.

He called on all health administrations to educate migrants on the benefits of inoculation. This year, China launched a national program to ensure that every child at kindergarten and school be fully inoculated.

Mao said the World Health Organization had confirmed that China had no cases of poliomyelitis in 2000. However, the myelitis virus still affected many people in countries neighboring with China. Last year, China saw a surge in cases of measles, as well as the outbreak or spread of epidemic cerebrospinal meningitis and epidemic encephalitis B.

"Therefore, we should pay more attention to and take concrete steps to improve the vaccination work," he said.

China began a nationwide inoculation program for children in 1978, and has set every April 25 since 1986 as the National Day for Inoculation for Children.

It is believed the country has 19.81 million children of migrant workers, accounting for 19.37 percent of the total migrant population. The government has taken steps to ensure migrant children enjoy the same public services as urban children in terms of education, health, and civil rights.

Earlier this year, the national capital of Beijing, with the largest number of migrants believed to be about four million, promised services for migrants the same as the locals in healthcare, education and family planning.

Migrant women will enjoy the same low-cost health checks and medical services during pregnancy and childbearing, and their children will get free vaccinations against epidemic diseases.

(Xinhua News Agency April 11, 2006)

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