Yan Hongchen, vice-chairman of China Peasants and Workers Democratic
Party (CPWDP), made a proposal to pay more attention to the
people's health in the west, especially those living in very
poor areas. Members of CPWDP are scholars mostly from medical
and health fields.
Yan said that after
20 years of reform and opening to the outside world, the economy
in the west is still lagged far behind that of the east. An
important cause is local people's health problem that has
slowed down the development of economy. In the countryside,
many people's poverty, or their return to poverty shortly
after they got rid of it, can ascribed to illness.
According to Yan,
three factors lead to their poor health.
Firstly, poor and
lack of medical care, an issue that should be attended to
by The State Council and health departments.
Only half of the
villages and townships in western areas have medical facilities,
and they are often in shabby houses and lack of basic equipment
and qualified employees. The life-span in Tibet, Qinghai and
Xingjiang are below the average of the country by 6-9 years.
The rates of maternal mortality and infant mortality are far
above the country's average.
incidence of contaminating disease and endemics.
According to a
survey conducted by State Health Services in 1998, the incidence
and mortality of infections in the west are above that of
the east and even the average of the countryside. More over,
the west is suffering many complicated endemics. These illnesses
undermine local people's intelligence and working ability.
Thirdly, lack of
According to the
survey, only 20 percent of farmers have very limited health
knowledge. In many cases an illness is viewed as punishment
from an evil spirit which can only be dispelled by offering
livestock. It's often the case that the patient fails to recover
but livestock is lost.
Yan suggested the
following to solve these problems.
1 State Government
makes policies to attract medical college graduates and post-graduates
to work in the west. Encourage experienced medical workers
in the east to work and lecture in the west.
2 Medical colleges
enroll more students coming from and willing to work in the
west after graduation. Workshops should be held to train less
qualified medical workers. Hospitals and medical institutes
in the east may donate spare equipment for help.
3. Spread medical
and health knowledge though media, lectures and tours to promote
health care and to prevent and cure diseases.