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Tibetan Medicine Hospital Upgraded

The Beijing Tibetan Medicine Hospital is to have a new, larger home built for it and will be developed into a national center for the traditional medicine of China’s ethnic minorities, hospital sources said recently in Beijing.

“Preparations are underway to build an 8,500-square-meter treatment and research block on a new site in northeastern Beijing,” Rinwang, deputy head of the hospital, announced at a meeting marking the hospital’ eighth anniversary.

The State Ethnic Affairs Commission and the State Administration for Traditional Chinese Medicine (SATCM) have decided to build the hospital into a national center for research and the application, and preservation of the medical traditions of ethnic minorities, said hospital head Huang Fukai.

The State Development Planning Commission (SDPC) has promised 87 million yuan (US$10.6 million) to the project and the municipal government of Beijing has allotted 1.5 hectares of land for the new facilities, Huang disclosed.

The new hospital will have 100 beds, according to SDPC documents approving the project.

“One of our top priorities for the next five years is to support some key hospitals specializing in the traditional medicines of ethnic minorities,” said Xu Zhiren, head of SATCM’s Department of Ethnic Minority Medicine. “This one is on the short list.”

“Its privileged location in the capital city means that it should become a window on the medical traditions of our ethnic minorities and a center for their preservation and development,” Xu said.

The hospital was first established in Beijing by the Beijing-based China Center for Tibetan Studies and the Shannan Tibetan Medicine Hospital in the Tibet Autonomous Region in November 1992.

Still focusing overwhelmingly on Tibetan medicine, the hospital also has experts on the traditional medicine of the Mongolian, Zhuang and Tujia ethnic groups in its staff of 58.

The hospital is collaborating with the Central University of Ethnic Minorities to establish a department of the traditional medicines of ethnic minorities at the university. The department will begin enrolling next year, according to Huang.

Another immediate move on Huang’s agenda is the construction of a base for the development of health products in cooperation with the Beijing-based Shen’an Group.

The hospital has served more than 500,000 outpatients and more than 50,000 inpatient in the past eight years.

It pioneered the setting up of special divisions for different diseases. This structure has since become the standard for Tibetan medicine hospitals across the country.

An independent medical system since the 8th century, Tibetan medicine features the extensive use of heavy metals, minerals and herbs peculiar to the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau.

(China Daily 11/09/2000)

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