|LHASA, May 23, 2016 -- Efforts to improve the livelihood of residents in Tibet is seeing good results as the autonomous region prepares to celebrate the 65th anniversary of its peaceful liberation on Monday.
Several years ago, Tseten Norbu's life was filled with concerns. His second son Tenpa was diagnosed with cancer in 2008, with each chemotherapy session costing 5,000 yuan (764 U.S. dollars), posing heavy pressure on his family that depend on farming for a living.
"The government reimbursed a big part of his medical fees, but the rest was still a burden on us," said Tseten, a resident of Medrogungkar County.
In 2015, the county started to apply a new medical insurance program, with the local government paying for the rest of the unreimbursed medical bills for local farmers and herdsmen.
"With the new policy, you basically don't need to pay anything for seeing the doctor, which was a relief for us," Tseten said.
To help local residents enjoy better livelihood, the county government has been drawing its purse strings tight on public expenses.
"We save up to 30 percent in government spending on travels, motor vehicles and reception each year," said county head Tenzin Nyima. "We then allocate the saved money on projects that improve people's livelihood."
In the past five years, Tibet has spent about 525 billion yuan on public expenses, with more than 70 percent on areas such as agriculture, education and healthcare, according to the regional government. Last year, more than 6.56 billion yuan was spent on healthcare, up 34.3 percent year on year.
Medical care is only part of the benefits brought about by the government. Education has also improved.