CHINA PLEDGES TO TREAT 2 MILLION TB CASES BY 2011
China's Ministry of Health has announced that it will make an effort to find and treat 2 million cases of tuberculosis (TB) over the next five years. Since 2001, the ministry reported, free treatment has been provided for 2.05 million TB patients, which has led to a 91 percent recovery rate. Currently, there are 5 million TB patients in the country, 80 percent of whom live in rural areas.
Government guidelines require the country's local health departments to give free examinations and medications to TB patients who are unable to afford them, noted Mao Qun'an, the ministry spokesman. Last year, he said, new TB screening laboratories were established in several of the country's poorer regions, and health authorities offered subsidies to rural doctors to detect and treat new cases of the disease.
Over the past five years, the government has allocated $5 million annually
for TB prevention and control. China is among the most TB-prone countries in
the world; its disease-rate ranks second only to India, which has more than
14 million cases of TB.