BEIJING, Nov. 21 – China has effectively tackled poverty due to illness among its efforts to secure a full victory in the battle to eradicate extreme poverty from across the country.
Nearly 10 million families have been lifted out of illness-induced poverty, according to health officials at a Friday press conference.
Multiple measures have been taken by health authorities and institutions to aid the country’s poverty battle, such as improving the conditions of medical institutions, introducing targeted measures to help and treat impoverished patients, strengthening the control of health risks in key regions and for key populations, and pursuing coordinated progress in COVID-19 control and poverty eradication, said Li Bin, deputy director of the National Health Commission.
Service capacity at county-based health institutions has been improved due to increased funding support, project construction, and personnel training, he said.
Health professionals at the primary level have been widely mobilized to locate and treat patients from poor families, with measures in place to ensure healthcare services are accessible and affordable to them, the official said, noting that more than 19 million patients from poor households have been treated.
DRUG PRICE DOWN
The Chinese government’s centralized procurement of drugs and other medical commodities has boosted drug accessibility for patients and reduced their financial burden of treatment.
Three rounds of the Chinese government’s centralized drug-procurement program over the past two years have seen 112 varieties of medicine selected, with the average price down by 54 percent, said Chen Jinfu, deputy head of the National Healthcare Security Administration.
The drug price drop as a result of centralized purchasing means a total of 53.9 billion yuan (8.19 billion U.S. dollars) in expenses is saved for the healthcare security fund and patients, Chen said.
Coronary stents, selected through the centralized procurement program for high-value medical commodities, saw their average price drop by 93 percent from about 13,000 yuan to roughly 700 yuan, saving the healthcare security fund and patients more than 10 billion yuan in related expenses, he noted.
HEALTHCARE SECURITY SYSTEM
China’s healthcare security system, comprising basic medical insurance, serious illness insurance and medical assistance, proves effective in easing the burden of healthcare expenses for low-income residents, according to officials.
With the triple-layer system in place, China has formed an institutional guarantee to ensure poor residents’ access to health services, said Fan Weidong, a National Healthcare Security Administration official.
A stabilized 99.9 percent of the poverty-stricken population are now covered by basic medical insurance plans, Fan said.
Under the healthcare security system, the actual reimbursement ratio of outpatient costs and chronic disease inpatient costs for poor people has reached more than 80 percent, he added.