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Vice premier stresses orderly reform of health care
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Chinese Vice Premier Li Keqiang has called for orderly implementation of the country's health care reform.

Li, also head of the State Council's leading group on health care system reform, made the remarks at a symposium in Jiangxi's capital city Nanchang on Saturday.

Li underscored major projects to be carried out to push forward the reform by the year-end:

-- The expansion of basic medical insurance coverage to 72 million more urban workers and unemployed residents, and ensuring at least 90 percent of the rural population to be covered.

-- Assistance for the vaccination of 23 million people below the age of 15 against hepatitis B and providing free folic acid supplements for 11.8 million rural women who intend to get pregnant or are in the early stages of pregnancy to prevent birth defects.

-- Improving primary health care facilities, including county and township-level hospitals, village clinics, and community health centers.

-- Ensuring about 30 percent of government-owned community health institutes and county-level hospitals use medicines on an essential drug list and sell them at controlled low prices.

-- A pilot reform in about 100 state-run hospitals by the year-end to draw experience from trial projects to push forward the reform across the country.

China's three-year plan for health care reform, involving an investment of 850 billion yuan (124 billion U.S. dollars), was unveiled in April. It aims to lay a solid foundation for equitable and universal access to essential health care for everyone in the country by 2020.

(Xinhua News Agency September 27, 2009)

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