CHINA> Regional
Beijing lines up 57 community projects
By Xie Chuanjiao (China Daily)
Updated: 2008-12-18 07:44

Children in Beijing aged 6 and under could be entitled to free annual health checks from next year, the municipal government said yesterday.

The new service is one of 57 community projects that are planned but not yet approved, it said.

Ma Yanming, a publicity official with the city's health bureau, said clinics will also provide free screening of newborn babies for congenital diseases, and free checkups for the 210,000 women from rural areas who are registered as using long-term forms of contraception, such as the pill.

Medical treatment for pregnant women from rural areas of the city will also be subsidized, he said.

Also in the medical sector, the government plans to buy 100 motorcycle ambulances - the city's first - which will help doctors respond more quickly to emergencies, Ma said.

Wang Juanjuan, the mother of a 4-year-old girl, said she was pleased to hear about the free checkups.

"I just hope they are comprehensive and include things like blood analysis, so I'll know exactly what needs to be done to keep her healthy," she told China Daily yesterday.

Many of the 57 proposals are designed to help the young, the elderly and women.

They cover such areas as housing, social security, transport and food safety, the Beijing Youth Daily quoted Yang Dianliang, an official with the public opinion collection office, as saying yesterday.

For example, Beijing's more than 1.6 million people aged 65 or above will get free admission to all major government funded parks and scenic spots, and free bus travel, he said.

Senior citizens who do not have medical insurance will also be entitled to free annual health checks, while the services provided for the elderly at community clinics will be upgraded, Ma said.

The proposals also include the construction of new homes for the elderly, jointly funded by the government and the private sector, to provide 15,000 new beds, he said.

In the transport sector, the government said the subway line 4 will begin trials next year, while construction will continue or begin on 12 other lines.

Four lines opened this year, taking the network to 200 km.

On the roads, 2,600 environmentally friendly buses will come into service next year, Ma said.

Food safety is also included in the proposals package, with more thorough quality inspections of manufacturers promised.

Special emphasis will be placed on drinking water, and meat and dairy products, he said.

Full details of the 57 proposals can be found at the website, where people can leave their comments until Monday.