Wed, Aug 02, 2006 - Page 2 News List

Parents unclear on health services, survey discovers

By Flora Wang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Many parents do not understand the importance of a children's health care handbook and services available for their kids, according to a recent survey conducted by the Bureau of Health Promotion.

The health bureau and the Bureau of Controlled Drugs, both under the Department of Health, recently completed a survey of 1,966 parents with children under the age of seven to determine how they have used health services offered by the National Health Insurance scheme.

Health record

The health care handbook is given out to parents when their child is born. Parents are supposed to keep a record of their kids' health conditions and any examinations in the book. Parents also need to present the book when their child starts school.

The survey's results indicate that more than 40 percent of parents do not know that the government subsidizes children's health care services.

Free services

The health bureau's deputy chief Wu Hsiu-ying (吳秀英) said that children under the age of seven can enjoy nine health examinations for free, most of which are provided before the child reaches one year old, according to the insurance system.

The examinations include physical check-ups and health counseling, she said, adding that with the children's health care handbook, they can also receive other subsidized inoculations.

Although 95.9 percent of the parents surveyed said they had collected the handbook, more than 32 percent of those with children younger than three did not use any health care services last year, according to the survey.

Almost half of the parents said they had not taken their kids for a health examination over the past year because "their children were in good health" and "the children did not feel ill."

The poll also indicated that nearly 20 percent of parents had not brought along the handbook when taking their children to receive medical treatment.

Book not used

More than 30 percent of parents do not keep a record of their children's health in the handbook, the survey said.

Though the handbook is required when children enroll in elementary school, 26 percent of the parents said they had no idea that they were not supposed to throw the handbook away.

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