China will evaluate pilot projects of a new rural medical care
system to insure farmers' health, the Ministry of Health said
The evaluation will cover counties in 29 provincial areas that
first carried out the new rural medical care system in 2003. An
expert team will carry out face-to-face surveys with farmers.
"It is expected to sum up past experiences and work out the
problems and the solutions," said an official with the
China has 900 million rural people, and more than 700 million
remain in the countryside and live in poor conditions. This is why
China has tilted its policy focus toward rural development.
China launched the rural cooperative medical care system in some
provinces on a trial basis in 2003 and it had covered 671 counties
with a total of 177 million rural residents by 2005.
Earlier this month, the government work report delivered by
Premier Wen Jiabao to the 4th session of the 10th National People's
Congress said the central government decided to double government
allowances of 20 yuan (US$2.5) this year for each farmer
participating in the rural cooperative medical care system.
"This means that farmers will be less worried about expensive
medical treatment," the official said. With the new policy, a
farmer puts 10 yuan (US$1.25) a year into his personal medical care
account and the government injects another 40 yuan (US$5) into his
account. Then, the government will pay a maximum of 65 percent of
his medical charges a year.
Several days ago, the Ministry of Finance announced that the
central government will increase the government allowance for rural
medical care to 4.73 billion yuan (US$500 million). This increase
also echoed the premier's promise to expand the scope of current
trials to 1,145, or 40 percent of its counties this year.
The health official stressed that a monitoring and
administrating system on medicine in rural areas will also be set
up in the near future.
Wen promised in his government work report that by 2008, the
basics of a Rural Health Care Service System and a rural medical
assistance system should be in place in all rural areas.
The Chinese government increased input in health care in rural
areas when Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) ran riot in the
country in 2003. A total of 10.5 billion yuan was spent to
establish a disease prevention and control system that has operated
at provincial, city and county levels over the past three
In addition, the central government spent 3 billion yuan (US$375
million) to support the establishment of health clinics in towns
and townships in the central and western regions.
After the recently announced national drive to develop new
socialist countryside, funds will be poured to rural infrastructure
projects. There will also be more funds for medical care,
education, and social security schemes for poor farmers.
(Xinhua News Agency March 30, 2006)