Migrant families seeking healthcare for their children are often given the solution of 'move to Shanghai'. Here families can come to receive 'top quality medical care' while living in 'medical villages' that provide housing for as cheap as possible.
Publication Sixth Tone, recently followed one family's journey to Shanghai from Wenzhou in Zhejiang province after their six-year-old son Wu Hao was diagnosed with Leukemia. Relocating to a tiny apartment in Shanghai, they began their new routine: waking up at 6am for the 20-minute walk to Shanghai Children's Medical Center (SCMC) for treatment. A routine the family has adapted to for the last three years.
Hao and his parents are just one family amongst hundreds who share similar experiences. Each year SCMC admits 600 new patients, 80 percent of which come from outside of Shanghai, according to their hematology department.
Along with the move and change of lifestyle for these families, it's also, unsurprisingly, quite expensive.
Medical bills can reach into millions of RMB with the government only covering a small percentage. According to Sixth Tone, Hao's treatments cost RMB320,000 in 2015. Government health insurance covered only RMB123,629 (38-percent) of that. Not much for a migrant family. Add to the fact that most migrant families are unable to work when they move to the big city and the cost of healthcare, and living expenses, can be crippling.
This month, Hao finished his treatments to the tune of RMB900,000 over three years. The family will return home to Wenzhou, with prayers and hope that SCMC has done all they will never need to for Hao. But, Jiang, Hao's mother says, that if the illness returns, they will return too to Shanghai, doing whatever it takes to save their son.
[Image via Sixth Tone]