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Economic burden of care for chronic diseases of poor rural households in China

Future Health Systems

Henry Lucas of IDS briefly presents work on the burden of chronic diseases for the rural poor in China at the 2011 iHEA conference. The study, led by Ding Shijun for the POVILL programme, showed that poor rural Chinese households in the provinces examined had a skewed population distribution, with most of the population of working age having emigrated from these rural areas. This resulted in fairly high levels of serious illness -- more than 10% of households. For most households, prevalance was higher in poorer households, with the exception of diabetes. The insurance scheme for rural patients, the NCMS, did not cover outpatient costs for chronic diseases, which placed a significant burden on these rural households. Where inpatient care did not involve surgery, the cost of outpatient care for chronic diseases was similar -- but not covered by insurance.