Volunteer medics a tonic for rural residents

Updated: Dec 11, 2019 China Daily Print
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Doctors from Shanghai examine a patient in Kashgar, Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region, last year. [Photo/Xinhua]

Qin Yong, director of the Yumin county health commission, said the group was the largest voluntary medical team to have visited from another part of China.

"Such assistance is badly needed here. We were really grateful to the doctors who came from so far away to offer voluntary services for local people," he said.

Zhu Hongming, deputy chief of grassroots health at the NHC, said the voluntary services are intended to promote better health and poverty alleviation for people in some of Tacheng's poorest areas.

"Due to the unbalanced distribution of resources, some counties, townships and villages in Tacheng lack medical talent and technologies. We hope the voluntary services will help relieve more people's problems," he said. "We would also like to see hospitals in Beijing and Tacheng establish relations so local hospitals can improve their ability to provide services."

Ning Dongsheng, deputy head of Tacheng prefecture, said he hopes long-term partnerships can be established to help local hospitals produce more talent and meet demand.

The assistance provided to Xinjiang was not an isolated effort. Since 2016, the NHC and several central government departments have undertaken a national program aimed at improving medical services in the region.

National program

Under the program, 43 major hospitals across China have established relations with 37 hospitals in 32 impoverished counties in Xinjiang. Each major hospital sends at least five leading medical professionals to its partner in Xinjiang for at least six months to help improve the quality of diagnosis and treatments offered by local staff members.

By August, 2,400 personnel had been dispatched, helping to provide 1.4 million diagnoses and treatments, and completing 32,000 inpatient surgeries, said Zhou Changqiang, deputy director of the commission's Medical Administration and Supervision Department.

Moreover, the experts conducted 900 rounds of voluntary diagnosis, benefiting nearly 100,000 locals, he added.

In addition, since 2016, the commission has arranged for seven provinces and municipalities to support eight hospitals in Xinjiang by providing equipment and helping to train medical talent.

In the past three years, all eight regional hospitals have been upgraded to tertiary status-the highest level in China's three-tier system. That has improved their ability to deal with severe illnesses.

As of August, the seven provinces and municipalities had organized more than 1,500 leading medical staff members to work at the hospitals temporarily, providing 112,000 training sessions for local practitioners, Zhou said.

Bao Baogen, deputy director of the Zhejiang Health Commission, said the province has invested nearly 400 million yuan ($57 million) in medical assistance that will allow Xinjiang's Aksu prefecture to undertake 44 programs, such as upgrading existing facilities and building new hospitals and clinics.

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