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Health benefit paperwork streamlined for childbirth

Zhu Lixin

(China Daily)

Updated: 2017-07-26

Couples in Wuhu, Anhui province, had complained that they had to go through too many registration and certification processes to get public services for pregnancy and neonatal care.

Some documents covered prenatal health examinations, birth registrations and reproductive health services. Others dealt with so-called lying-in women - those resting in bed after childbirth - as well as newborns and young children.

"A total of seven registrations and certifications were required to take advantage of the services, which last until a child is 6 years old," said Zha Zhonghai, deputy director of Wuhu's health and family planning commission. "The process of getting all the papers could take months."

Wang Yongzhang, chief engineer of Wuhu government's information office, said each piece of paperwork required three to five working days and could only be obtained from the local community service centers.

It was not merely a matter of time. To get each piece of paperwork, a couple needed to provide a range of documents including identification cards, household registration booklet and marriage certificate.

"Sometimes they failed just because they forgot to bring a certain certificate," Wang said.

Last year, the health and family planning authorities launched an online system to combine all family planning-related registrations into one through cooperation with the information office.

Now they call it "the seven-in-one family health card".

"Though it is still called a card, you will get no actual card," Wang said. "It's more like an account that records everything in the system. Each couple will still get a booklet that includes all the sheets to record the services they will get in the community and hospital."

The booklet is for the couples' convenience, but everything it shows will also be recorded in the online system.

"Nowadays, to enjoy the services, a couple just needs to provide ID cards, and the system is able to access all the needed information," Wang said. "The procedure to get a new card lasts about 10 minutes at a community service window, which is just one of a few options."

Residents can also apply for the card online or via an app.

For the booklet, they can choose to get it at the community administration office or by mail.

As of the end of June, 41,424 couples had applied for the card. Of those, 34,707 applied through community service centers and 6,717 through the website and app.


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Link: China's Central Government / World Health Organization / United Nations Population Fund / UNICEF in China

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