SCIO briefing on China's poverty reduction progress

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Mr. Liu Yongfu, director of State Council Leading Group Office of Poverty Alleviation and Development
Ms. Su Guoxia, head of the Comprehensive Department of the State Council Leading Group Office of Poverty Alleviation and Development, as well as the office’s spokesperson

Xi Yanchun, vice director-general of the Press Bureau, State Council Information Office

Oct. 10, 2017

Xi Yanchun:

The reporter from Reuters not only focuses on the current progress of poverty reduction, but also its future.

The Beijing News:

My question is in relation to when people become poorer or return to poverty because of illness. I have previously reported on middle-class families becoming poor because their children were diagnosed with a tumor. They had to sell their cars and houses in order to seek care in Beijing since there is no medical care system to cover their basic needs under special cases. For these people, is there any policy or measures to meet their needs?

Liu Yongfu:

Su Guoxia will answer this question.

Su Guoxia:

Thank you very much. We will communicate and coordinate with relevant government departments about incorporating the medical treatment of some major diseases into medical security. Actually, you have raised a question concerning a deeply impoverished group of people. Among the remaining poor at the present time, the percentage of family members caught in or set back to poverty due to illness is on the rise, up from 42 percent two years ago to 44 percent now. So, the government is paying special attention to this problem, and also regards it as one of our next priorities. Together with the National Health and Family Planning Commission and other government departments, we have carried out poverty alleviation projects to help increase health standards in poor areas, and also established systems like basic medical insurance, major disease insurance and medical assistance, complemented by some commercial insurance, to address basic problems. Now, local governments are carrying out many policies as well. We believe that the current healthcare system for the poor in rural areas has been basically sound.

A specific issue you mentioned just now is some rare diseases. Diseases like pediatric congenital heart disease and leukemia have been incorporated into the special medical treatment of critical diseases. For the congenital heart disease relatively common in the Tibetan region, the government has not only offered assistance with national policies and systems, but also mobilized the community to help. Only a small number of certain individuals are afflicted by rare diseases, who need help from society, including NGOs. Next, we will cooperate with other departments including the National Health and Family Planning Commission to work on additional measures for helping with the treatment of major pediatric diseases.

I would like to further address the question raised by Reuters. As Mr. Liu just explained, our main strategies for helping the poor in cities are minimum living allowances and employment assistance policies. In fact, another major policy that was developed in recent years is to guarantee the housing security of the poor in urban areas. The government has invested a lot in transforming shantytowns and providing support for basic housing over the past few years, and addressed the housing of 80 million poor people in cities. Thank you.

Liu Yongfu:

I'd like to add more. In addition to what she had just talked about, the National Health and Family Planning Commission has jointly launched with us an action plan on serious disease treatment, the contracted treatment of chronic diseases and medical assistance for special and serious diseases. Now the work gets underway nationwide. Thank you.

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