"Let grandpa feed you, OK?" Premier Wen Jiabao said gently, handing a sugar-coated
pill to four-year-old Xiao Yanyu, who recently moved with her
parents from north China's Inner Mongolia to Beijing.
The girl took the pill that will prevent her from possibly being
paralyzed by the poliovirus and drank from a cup of water held by
Wen. "Brave girl!" he praised.
The scene at the Yuetan Community Health Center in Beijing
Tuesday morning highlighted China's efforts to ensure all children
-- including those of permanent residents and migrant workers alike
-- are given vaccines.
Today was China's 20th National Child Inoculation Day which
carried the theme "same rights, same health" for children of
"Inoculation of children is a very important job. Children are
like seedlings and only with elaborate care can they grow up
healthy and strong." Wen said during his visit to the health
center. He was joined by Vice Premier Wu Yi and two top municipal
"It's the responsibility of government at all levels to ensure
every child is inoculated on time," said Wen.
China's Ministry of Health has promised that from 2006, all
children will receive necessary inoculations before going to day
cares and schools. Those who haven't vaccinated will be asked to do
Statistics show that the number of children of migrant workers
in China has reached 19.81 million, accounting for 19.37 percent of
China's total migrant population.
Inoculation of migrant children is a weak link in China's health
system as under the current system, regions are responsible for the
health care needs of their permanent residents.
The rapid growth of the migrant population has compelled
governments to break regional divisions and grant near equality of
heath care, education and other benefits to all people living in
Mao Qun'an, spokesman for the Ministry of Health, said earlier
this month the government would offer migrant children the same
inoculation service as local permanent residents.
China has not had a case of poliomyelitis since 2000, but there
have been out breaks of the crippling illness in neighboring
The spread of measles rose in 2005 and there have been outbreaks
of Meningitis and Encephalitis B over the past two years.
"All localities must take their immunization work seriously and
cover the expense of the inoculations," said Mao.
During his visit to the health center, Wen also urged community
health centers to make it more convenient and less expensive to
seek health care.
(Xinhua News Agency April 26, 2006)