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In January 2017 the Chinese government released the National Occupational Preventative and Treatment Plan, with the aim of further protecting occupational health and fulfilling the promise of a healthy China. The plan addresses the urgent need to promote occupational health. According to the National Health and Family Planning Commission (NHFPC) report series, over 830 000 cases of occupational disease have been reported in the past three decades, of which 80% were pneumoconiosis (90% of such cases affected internal migrant workers); the number has risen gradually every year.1 Rough economic estimates suggest that the direct annual economic loss attributable to occupational diseases is about 100 billion RMB (Yuan), with the indirect economic loss being about 200 billion Yuan.2 However, as only 30% of the population is subjected to occupational health surveillance, it is likely that the number of occupational disease cases is greatly underestimated. Therefore, if China wishes to fulfil the dream of a healthy population, major challenges must be addressed.
The first challenge is the absence of protection for internal migrant workers. China …
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