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Group seeks moral support, money for people who have lost their only child

By Wang Xiaoyu | China Daily | Updated: 2018-12-21 09:17

The China Family Planning Association will work with the country's health authorities to provide both moral support and financial aid for parents who have lost their only child or whose only child is severely disabled.

In a national council held on Thursday, the association - a nonprofit organization that advocates family planning policies and reproductive health - said it has invested 10.7 million yuan ($1.6 million) to launch programs in 82 cities across the country that provide psychological relief and insurance services to families in such circumstances.

"Eighteen areas, including the Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region and Sichuan, Yunnan and Hunan provinces, have implemented hospitalization insurance that covers more than 400,000 families who lost their only child," Yao Ying, deputy head of the association said at the gathering.

In August, the association released a notice requiring its regional bodies to offer insurance to cover fees for the hospital stays of parents older than 49 whose only child had died. It's an attempt to ease the financial strain arising from the fact that childless parents are often left with nobody to help when they're hospitalized.

Yao added that the association is pushing for insurance plans with wider coverage for hospital stays and accidents to weave a stronger safety net for vulnerable families.

Tang Guangyi, deputy director of the family association in Chongqing, suggested also adding critical illness insurance to the medical package for parents whose only child had died.

"It is reported that some childless parents in Chongqing fell into poverty after they were diagnosed with severe illnesses," Tang said. "Such real-life cases show the need to cushion hefty medical expenses when these families are hit with serious diseases."

The association will also partner with the National Health Commission to establish an online database that aggregates information on all families whose child has died or was disabled.

The number of families who lost their only child had grown to more than 1 million by the end of 2014, and it was estimated that it would reach 6 million by 2035, Wang Guangzhou, a researcher on population and labor economy at Chinese Academy Social Sciences, said in an interview in 2014.

"The association should take advantage of its large number of members to shoulder the responsibility of providing comprehensive support for all families who lost their only child," said Lu Jiehua, professor of sociology at Peking University.

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