China launched a new program last week to help address poverty caused by illness.
The program, which will last until February, aims to use the slack farming season and the Spring Festival holiday when migrant workers return home, to figure out how many poor people have diseases and keep them updated with new policies, according to Xia Gengsheng from the State Council Leading Group Office of Poverty Alleviation and Development.
Xia said that more than 50 percent of impoverished residents in 10 Chinese provinces fell into poverty due to illnesses, at the end of 2016.
China aims to lift all people above the poverty line -- per capita annual income of 2,300 yuan (348 U.S. dollars) -- in rural areas by 2020. Strong efforts have been made in helping the rural poor suffering from illnesses.
More than 4.2 million poor patients with serious or chronic diseases have been treated since last year. The family doctor system has expanded to include around 80 percent of those living under the poverty line.
Meanwhile, more than 900 top hospitals have dispatched doctors to over 1,000 hospitals in poor counties, and developed a network of distance health care.