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HOME  > Past issues  > 2019 June 12 - 18  > JCP Tamura to gov’t: Ensure children with health problems access to medical care
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2019 June 12 - 18 [SOCIAL ISSUES]

JCP Tamura to gov’t: Ensure children with health problems access to medical care

June 12, 2019
Japanese Communist Party parliamentarian Tamura Tomoko on June 11 at a House of Councilors Cabinet Committee meeting brought up the issue of children’s hesitation to follow advice given in school medical checkups to see a doctor for further examination and/or treatment, urging the government to tackle the issue.

Tamura cited a survey by the Japanese Medical and Dental Practitioners for Improvement of Medical Care (Hodanren), which showed that among children who were found to have cavities or other oral health problems in school health checkups, the percentages of those who did not go to a dental clinic were 50.8% in elementary schools, 65.3% in junior high schools, and 82% in senior high schools. She added that a similar situation can be seen among schoolchildren whose medical problems concerning internal organs, eyes, ears, nose, or throat are discovered in school checkups.

As a possible reason why older students are less likely to seek medical consultation, Tamura pointed out that most municipal governments do not provide free or low-cost health care programs for children who are junior high school students or older.

Tamura demanded that the government carry out a survey of children who are instructed to receive follow-up care in school health examinations in order to find out how many of them fail to go to see a doctor and why. She also demanded that the national government recognize that household financial conditions adversely affect children’s access to medical care and increase subsidies to local governments so that they can improve their medical care programs for children.

In response, Minister of State for Measures for Declining Birthrate Miyakoshi Mitsuhiro rejected Tamura’s demand by saying that it is not clear whether children from lower-income families have less access to medical care services. Tamura criticized the government for refusing to admit to the obvious relationship between the health of children and income inequality.
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