We hear much about China’s soaring economy and rise as a world power. However, China remains an underdeveloped country in many ways. This is particularly true in the rural areas. Lack of health care is one example.
*Mr Zheng’s case, although extreme, has highlighted the flaws in China’s health care system, particularly for those living in the countryside.
He was covered for some medical treatment under the government’s rural health insurance scheme. But he had to pay the costs upfront and could only claim back some of them.
Without enough money to pay for treatment or surgery, Mr Zheng felt he had no choice but to return to his home in Dongzang village in Qingyuan county, where he endured months of extreme pain.
“I lay in bed for more than three months. My leg turned black. The skin and the flesh were all black,” he said.
“There were maggots in the flesh. I could see the bone in my right leg. I felt sick when I saw it.”
Finally, Mr Zheng could not bear to suffer any more and decided to take drastic action. *
China plans to have universal healthcare by 2020, but finding the money for this program may be difficult. Health care expenses are expected to triple by that time.