Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Tuesday news: The US health model best for China | Food and drug police | SARS victims forgotten | HIV medication non-compliance | Womens' wrinkles vary by region

US healthcare model is the answer to China's problems
The answer to China's health problems is to follow the American model and encourage growth of the private health insurance industry, says an American academic. Harvard's Professor Martin Feldstein, a former economics adviser to Ronald Reagan, says China could boost the growth of private health companies by creating tax breaks for employers and people who pay into them. Expansion of health insurance would also lead to an increase in the provision of hospital services as private insurers will enter the market, Professor Feldstein told Jewish Business News. By encouraging the purchase of health insurance by individuals or employers, the Chinese government could reduce the current trend for household saving to pay for medical bills and free up funds to increase consumer spending, he said.

'Health police' to be set up to catch drug and food crooks
"Watch it, here come the health police ..." - may soon become reality in China.  The Ministry of Public Security is planning to set up a new police division to deal with "food and drug safety crimes" in conjunction with the China Food and Drug Administration (CFDA). At present those who break food and drug regulations are supposed to be dealt with by the CFDA, but  the agency has weak powers and not enough staff to deal with the numerous cases of drug and food violations. The new food and drug police would have more powers, but some people are warning that it will lead to duplication and will not deter back street drug factories or sub-standard food manufacturers.

SARS victims abandoned to ill health
Many of the 5000 people in China who were infected with SARS a decade ago are struggling today under a burden of severe long term complications, clinicians say. SARS victims feel forgotten and abandoned, with may having debilitating lung problems that stop them from working and earning a living, according to an article by Professor Xiang Yutao and colleagues of Capital Medical University in Beijing. Many people who had SARS  developed long term problems and disabilities due to the high dose steroid therapy they were given, according to Professor Xiang. However there is no social or financial support for the many people who need ongoing medical treatment, he says.

HIV patients stop taking their medicines
Antiretroviral medicines are provided free of charge to HIV positive people in China but despite this, many stop taking them, leading to high rates of treatment failure. A new study from Guangzhou of 813 HIV-infected adult 19% had recently missed taking their medication and 7% had had stopped their antiretrovirals for at least a month in the past year). Those most likely to stop tended to be male, living alone, poorly educated and to drink alcohol.

The women with the best skin in China live in ...
If you want beautiful skin, go live near the Yangtze - that's the conclusion of a study of women's skin quality in different areas of China. Dermatologists found that skin quality and appearance depended on the local climate - in the cold, dry smoggy climate of Beijing womens' skin tended to be dry and wrinkled, whereas in the hotter sub-tropical humidity Guangzhou women had finer wrinkles - but more greasy skin due to higher sebum content.  Cities such as Shanghai and Wuhan had a combination of high moisture and moderate temperatures and women's skin had more elasticity.

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