Northwest China's Gansu Province saved approximately 10 million yuan (some US$1.23 million) in medical expenses for needy rural residents in 2005, according to the provincial government.
Gansu Province sent 1,256 urban medical workers to improve medical care in its small towns and rural villages in past year, said the director of the province's office of "A Thousand Doctors Assist Rural Medical Care" project.
The project was launched by the Chinese Ministry of Health and the State Administration of Traditional Chinese Medicine in April last year to help improve medical care in rural China.
By the end of 2005, noted the director, the dispatched doctors have done more than 7,400 surgeries for rural patients, cutting the operation fee by some 1,000 yuan (about US$123) per case.
In the meantime, these doctors participated in the publicity of knowledge of hygiene and organized personnel training in local hospitals.
According to statistics, the children's bacterin vaccination rate grew by 5 to 8 percent over the previous year while the rate of hospital delivery rose by 8 percent. And 120,000 medical workers in the grassroots hospitals have undergone training thanks to the project.
China has a rural population of about 900 million, nearly 80 percent of whom lack medical care. To help farmers afford major diseases, the country has again launched a cooperative medical care system and set up mobile medical teams in rural areas.
(Xinhua News Agency January 9, 2006)