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China to Improve Rural Medical Service with Big Spending

China's Ministry of Health on Thursday announced that the central government will spend 69 million yuan (US$8.4 million) to assist village clinics in the west in 2006.

A total of 375 counties in 11 western provinces will get the financial assistance in improving rural medical service, according to a meeting held by the ministry.

Last year, as a pilot program, Gansu Province in the northwest dispatched 1,265 urban doctors to 350 village clinics to help train rural health staff and perform medical service, which brought benefit to and were welcomed by farmers, said Han Keyin, deputy director of the provincial health department.

"The nine-month working in the village let me know how much the farmers need for medical service and medicine," said Yang Hua, a doctor with the center for disease prevention and control of Yumen City, who were sent to work in Wenquan Village of Wushan County last year.

In the areas where urban doctors performed their duties, 87.6 percent of rural people were satisfied with the service, according to a survey conducted by the Gansu provincial health authorities.

The emphasis of this year's assistance will be training of staff of village clinics, in addition to improving their managing capabilities and performing appropriate medical service, said Vice Health Minister Chen Xiaohong at the meeting.

(Xinhua News Agency February 24, 2006) 

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