Print This Page Email This Page
Free TB Detection and Treatment Promised

The Ministry of Health has pledged to beef up free tuberculosis (TB) detection and treatment services, particularly among migrant workers.

The move comes as a major effort to curb the spread of TB, which has become China's top epidemic killer, with more than 130,000 people dying from the disease every year.

The country has about 5 million TB patients, 80 percent of whom live in the countryside, Health Ministry statistics show.

"The mobile population, especially underprivileged migrant workers, enjoy full access to free healthcare services in TB screening and treatment," Xiao Donglou, vice-director of the Ministry's disease prevention and control bureau, said at a TB-control meeting.

"People infected with the airborne contagious disease should turn to local TB prevention and treatment organizations, where free disease screening test and further treatment are provided for all needed citizens, locals and migrants alike."

In 2001 the State Council promised free examinations and treatment for people infected with TB by earmarking 40 million yuan (US$5.17 million) in funds every year. The fund kept surging and soared 10-fold until 2006, hitting 400 million yuan (US$51.7 million).

In recent years, considerable attention has been turned to farmers-turned-workers, who are under greater risk of contracting the disease due to comparatively poor medical awareness, high-density living conditions, and mobile lifestyle, Jiang Shiwen, director with the National Center for TB Control and Prevention, said.

With US$50 million from global fund for TB control put in place last October, the Chinese government has launched a special-care program for China's some 200 million migrant workers, Jiang said.


Besides free examinations and treatment, a monthly 100 yuan (US$12) allowance is distributed to each infected migrant worker in the two municipalities of Shanghai and Tianjin and five other economically advanced provinces.

"TB-awareness-raising campaigns among them should be beefed up as many simply endure the disease without seeking timely treatment, with the fear of being sacked and high medical costs," Jiang said, reiterating the TB treatment is free of charge.

Left untreated, each person with active TB disease will infect on average 10 to 15 people every year, medical experts said.

Every year in China more than 130,000 die from this treatable disease, nearly 10th of the world's total, WHO statistics show.

Among those who die, many end up with the drug-resistant TB, which is probably caused by delayed medical intervention, Jiang said.

Moreover, drug resistance, which occurs in 28 percent of China's total TB patients, arises from improper treatment regimens by healthcare workers and failure to ensure that patients complete the whole treatment course.

A TB patient who has developed drug resistance will need to be treated at a cost of 20,000 yuan (US$2,587) to get cured. A common TB sufferer is treated at a cost of only 150 yuan (US$19.40).

(China Daily March 21, 2007)

Related Stories
- TB Tops List of China's Killer Infectious Diseases in April
- Global Fund to Give China US$121 Mln for Disease Control
- British Aid Program Benefits TB Patients in SW China
- Top Firms Close Ranks Against AIDS, TB

Print This Page Email This Page
'Tomorrow Plan' Helps Disabled Orphans
First Chinese Volunteers Head for South America
East China City Suspends Controversial Chemical Project Amid Pollution Fears
Second-hand Smoke a 'Killer at Large'
Private Capital Flows to Developing Countries Hit New Record in 2006
Survey: Most of China's Disabled Not Financially Independent

Product Directory
China Search
Country Search
Hot Buys