From Financial Times:
After Song Xuefang began suffering from vomiting and pains that left her hardly able to walk, she and her husband pulled out their savings and sold their 30 sheep to pay for treatment.
It was not enough. Doctors in Mrs Song’s dusty county of Jingyuan in China’s north-western Gansu province could not tell what was wrong. When she checked in to a hospital in the provincial capital, the money quickly ran out.
Now Mrs Song, 65, is back in her village, mired in debt, taking daily doses of locally bought drugs that do little more than ease her symptoms. “It’s left me less than alive,” she says. “I don’t get better and I don’t die.”[Full Text]
Read also What is wrong with China’s healthcare system? by Sarah Marks:
China was once a model for developing countries throughout the 1960s and 1970s. Since the introduction of opening and reform in the late 1970s, China has experienced fundamental changes. While most of these changes have benefited the nation and some of its people, they have also created tremendous social dislocation and destroyed some of the old infrastructure that had served the people well. The health sector seems to have sustained the most serious damage.
China’s health problems are multiple. Rising costs, growing inequality between rich and poor, and a failing infrastructure that cannot respond to the demands of global infectious diseases are the most difficult to overcome. Further education, training, and collaboration are needed by the government, academia and non-governmental organizations to combat the health challenges of the 21st century. If China does not fix the problems in the health sector, not only its own economic development cannot be sustained, its political stability may also be shattered. [Full Text]