Most Chinese charitable organizations, especially those serving the sick and diseased, operate independently and lack effective information communication. Because of this lack of coordination, resources are allocated to different relief efforts very unevenly. Some causes receive an excess of resources, while others do not even have enough to provide the most basic services, leaving many people sick who could easily be cured. On July 22, the Chinese Red Cross and the Beijing Normal University Philanthropy Research Institute co-sponsored the second session of the China Children’s Serious Illness Relief Forum. The forum issued the “China Children’s Illness Health Insurance and Social Illness Analysis” report (中国儿童大病医疗保障与社会救助分析) in an effort to increase aid to help sick children and to provide a platform to discuss relief for sick children.
The report cited three main challenges that sick children face. First, medical reimbursement is often limited to treatment of serious disease. Statistics show that the reimbursment rate for simple, non life threatening illnesses, ranges only from 20% to 45%. Second, there is a shortage of pediatric health services. Third, urban and rural migrant children are heavily underinsured with only and estimated 44% insured. With the government’s current health care system, it is still difficult to build a comprehensive security background, and social resource-based children’s charity relief has become an important supplementary resource to resolve serious medical problem. The report issued at the forum shows that more than 90 charitable organizations carried out a total of nearly 150 children’s illness relief projects, serving over 100,000 children with all kinds of serious diseases that are not covered through national policy coverage. Professor Li Ling from Peking University reflected on the current state of affairs and noted a pattern of fragmentation in health care, medicine and civil affairs.
Looking towards the future, many hope for a standardized way to cooperate. Right now,
aid organizations within each province have developed their own, often still relatively inefficient way to cooperate and help children who are seriously ill. This cooperation is imperative, as often treatment for serious diseases requires cooperation between foundations, the government and healthcare providers.