China, its aging population and the healthcare problem | VPRO Documentary

China, its aging population and the healthcare problem | VPRO Documentary

China is facing an aging population that needs health care. But who is paying for the aging population in China? How much health care can China provide for its aging population? Seriously ill people have to go to the big cities for adequate healthcare. But the hospitals in Chinas big cities are overcrowded. So where will the aging population find good healthcare?

In the past 30 years, life for people in China has changed drastically. Photographer Ruben Terlou travels with his camera through the heart of China, from north to south. On his journey, he is trying to find out what it´s like to live and work in today. What is the future of this gigantic country? And what do ordinary Chinese people appreciate or value?

In the fifth episode Ruben Terlou arrives in Changsha, where hospitals are overcrowded. Many young people go to the city. And thus, the countryside becomes populated by elderly people who have to save themselves. The migration also has major consequences for China’s health care. Because the insurance system is not geared towards so many new city dwellers. The consequence is that many Chinese people come into major financial problems as soon as they become ill.

China is ageing rapidly. 70 years ago, when founding the People´s Republic, Mao called upon all Chinese to have as many children as possible. The more Chinese, the greater the revolution. The result was a huge baby boom. Today that generation is old and if they are sick, they need to find a place in the hospital. That is a major problem, as the healthcare is just not made for this huge amount of people.

Ruben speaks to the elderly tea farmers in Fujian and follows seriously ill cancer patients waiting in a street full of cheap hotels next to the hospital of Changsha for their treatment and hope for cure.

Original title: de K-straat (5/7)
Maaik Krijgsman
© VPRO January 2018

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