Home>News Center>China

Legislator calls for new spending on healthcare
By Chen Qide (China Daily)
Updated: 2004-07-23 01:16

A senior Chinese legislator called for priority to be given to public healthcare and fighting epidemic disease Thursday.

China's health expenses in 2000 increased by seven times compared with 1990, accounting for 5.7 per cent of its gross domestic product that year.

"But the percentage, much lower than an average 8.5 per cent spent in developed countries, made it difficult to meet the growing demand for health care," said Han Qide, vice-chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress.

"More money is needed for health projects," said Han, who came to Shanghai to attend an international symposium on fostering city images and spirit.

He stressed that public health is closely related to economic development.

His words were echoed by Sergio Spinaci, an expert from the World Health Organization (WHO), who said although China's economic reforms have yielded impressive results in development in the past several years. The forces unleashed by those reforms have brought unintended negative impacts and a growing gap between the rich and the poor.

"As a result, health standards, particularly among the poor have been affected and low public spending on health is considered to be a major reason for the lowered health status of the poor," Spinaci said.

Statistics in the first three months of this year showed that China had 937,237 epidemic patients, a number that is expected to grow, according to Han.

The country has 840,000 people carrying HIV, the virus that causes AIDS in 31 provinces and municipalities. Of them, 80,000 have been diagnosed AIDS patients.

"We don't know where the remaining 800,000 virus carriers are. It is very dangerous, for we can't control the source," the vice chairman said.

At present, the country has 120 million Hepatitis B virus carriers including 20 million patients, some of whom will develop liver cancer.

Contagious diseases that are spreading in China include snail fever, venereal disease and pulmonary tuberculosis (TB).

Current active TB patients in China have reached 4.5 million. The country is expected to have 1.3 million new TB patients yearly with 10 per cent dying of the disease.

"About 80 per cent of the TB patients are in the rural areas and lack money for treatment," he said.

Drug addicts nationwide have risen to 1 million, with most aged 15 to 35.

"Most contagious diseases are caused by the worsening environment," he said.

Spinaci suggested China should increase spending on the health of the poor.

"If the country spends more money on the health projects in the next 40 years, it will develop faster and its people will benefit a lot," he said.

  Today's Top News     Top China News

Wanted: Jobs for millions this year



Beijing warns Taipei about missing tourists



Pilot projects mapped for green economy



China unhappy with British comments on HK



Flood death toll reaches 100 in Yunnan



Power consumption hits new record


  Top concern for food safety
  Beijing tops costly cities for living on mainland
  Lee's visit shakes bilateral ties
  New rules: Traffic lanes set for ships in Yangtze
  Sino-US partnership protocol extended
  Flooding and droughts plague China, together
  Go to Another Section  
  Story Tools  
  News Talk  
  When will china have direct elections?