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3.61 Million Rural Residents Benefit from WB Program
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China's health improvement program, supported by the loan from the World Bank, has benefited 3.61 million rural people in poverty-stricken areas in northwest China's Gansu Province, said an official with the provincial health department on Tuesday.


Launched in 1998, the program will invest 127 million yuan (US$15.7 million) primarily in ten state-level impoverished counties in the province's central part, targeting minority groups, to help local medical infrastructure.


As of 2004, 97.4 million yuan (US$12 million) were used to improve healthcare in the poverty-stricken areas.


About 180 clinics and health stations were rebuilt or expanded, where medical equipment worth more than 20 million yuan (US$2.5 million) has been provided.


The program also includes various kinds of training toward the medical staff in the poverty-stricken areas.


Besides, more than three million yuan (US$369,913) were granted to needy families as medical subsidies.


Thanks to improving medical conditions, the infant death rate was reduced from 3.72 percent in 1998 to 2.49 percent by the end of 2004.


(Xinhua News Agency December 28, 2005)


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