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September 16, 2009

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Orphans to receive free medical insurance cover

CHINA'S orphans are to receive free medical insurance for 12 critical illnesses thanks to joint efforts between the government and charity organizations.

The insurance, at a premium of 50 yuan (US$7.32) a year, is designed for all healthy orphans aged under 18 across China who have registered with the Ministry of Civil Affairs.

Each insured orphan will be covered for 100,000 yuan.

"The insurance will be in place for orphans before National Day (October 1) this year," Song Liying, secretary general of the China Children and Teenagers' Fund, said yesterday. The insurance program will be jointly operated by the MCA and the CCTF.

The 12 illnesses covered are malignant tumors (including leukemia), organ and stem cell transplants, acute kidney failure, aplastic anemia, benign brain tumors, acute hepatitis, meningitis, infantile paralysis, serious rheumatoid arthritis, serious Kawasaki disease, Myasthenia Gravis and insulin-dependent diabetes.

A survey by the Ministry of Civil Affairs in 2005 showed China had about 573,000 orphans aged under 18.

Dou Yupei, vice minister of the MCA, said the real number of orphans in China was probably much higher since traditionally Chinese who help take care of orphans of their relatives are reluctant to let other people know the children are orphans.

Dou said the ministry had been carrying out a new survey on the number of orphans in China and the condition of their health.


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