THE city government is looking into how to provide better support and care to families who have lost their only child — and thereby a principal means of support.
Such support would help with medical treatment and insurance, as well as senior care, said Shanghai Vice Mayor Weng Tiehui.
The city had about 15,000 families whose only child had died, and this group of people was a priority for the government, said Weng. The city’s civil affairs authorities would also work on extra support policy for seniors needing care services, she said.
Weng was responding to calls from members of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference Shanghai committee who said these families needed more support with medical expenses and senior care services.
“Middle-aged or senior people who obeyed China’s family planning policy at the time and lose their only child face financial, senior care, psychological and medical treatment problems and they urgently need the society’s care as they feel lonely and have concerns over who can provide care to them when they are old,” Zhang Huaiqiong, a CPPCC member, said.
Current policy mainly covers financial subsidy, which was not enough, and how to help them get through the sorrow and enjoy the rest of their life was important because of their lack of a sense of security, said Zhang.
“The biggest problem confronting this group of people is medical treatment and senior care, thus their medical expenses should be covered and senior care homes with a good care system should give priority to them,” he added, noting that a medical treatment plan or long-term care insurance was also necessary.
Huang Qi, another member, called for more nursing homes for children under 3 years old to be established.
The nursing problem for such children was urgent as China had now relaxed its one-child policy, Huang said.
She added that about 75 percent of employees wanted to send their children aged under 3 years old to nurseries, according to a survey, but there was often no nursery near their home, and some companies that had opened nurseries for employees had not obtained the necessary licenses.
Most companies, however, were not willing to host nurseries due to a lack of space and funds, while service agencies providing such care were operating in a grey area, she added.
Huang suggested authorities should release specific policies and standards on nursery facility construction and management for children under 3, and encourage companies to develop or co-host nursery agencies for employees.
Zhou Beihua, another CPPCC member, suggested a subsidy to help to pay housing rent for out-of-town young pediatricians.
The number of new pediatricians leaving Shanghai had increased in recent years because of the high rents in Shanghai, she said.
Vice Mayor Weng said the city planned to research setting aside more public rental housing for young teachers and health-care providers.