China's central government will spend 69 million yuan (US$8.4 million) to assist village clinics in the west of the country in 2006, the Ministry of Health announced on Thursday. A total of 375 counties in 11 western provinces are to get financial assistance to improve rural medical services. .
In a pilot program last year Gansu Province in the northwest sent 1,265 urban doctors to 350 village clinics to help train health workers and undertake medical services. The initiative brought significant benefits to many farming communities, said Han Keyin, deputy director of the provincial health department.
"My nine-month working in the village let me see at first hand how much these farming communities need medical services and medicines," said Dr. Yang Hua, of the Center for Disease Prevention and Control at Yumen City. He worked in Wenquan Village of Wushan County last year.
In communities and areas where urban doctors performed their duties 87.6 percent of rural people were satisfied with the service. This figure comes from a survey conducted by the Gansu provincial health authorities.
This year emphasis was being placed on the training of staff in village clinics. Additionally efforts were to be made to improve management standards and to ensure appropriate medical services were available, said Vice Minister of Health Chen Xiaohong at the meeting.
(Xinhua News Agency February 24, 2006)