China's Ministry of Health said on Thursday that it had invested 175.4 billion yuan (27.8 billion U.S. dollars) of special funds to develop health care in poverty-stricken regions during the last Five-Year Plan period (2006-2010).
Those five years witnessed an average annual growth rate of 73 percent in the funds, according to a statement issued by the ministry.
The funds had been used in strengthening health care in poor rural areas, which had benefited from 3,000 county-level hospitals, 27,000 township hospitals and 28,000 village clinics, it added.
Meanwhile, the ministry had also put massive effort into building a long-term urban/rural and eastern/western supporting mechanism, under which 120,000 medical experts in major hospitals were temporarily transferred to less developed regions to offer training and service.
China has pledged to promote equal access to medical care for its citizens and significantly improve the quality and efficiency of such services by 2015, or during its ongoing 12th Five-Year Plan period.
As of the end of 2011, 128 million Chinese were covered by the government's poverty reduction program, including 13.4 percent of all rural residents.
According to the central budget for 2012, the fund allocated to poverty relief maintains a sharp growth, as the special fund for poverty relief reaches 37.3 billion yuan, with an increase of 18.7 percent.