Jiang'er Rehati is Party Branch Secretary and Head of the Maternity and Child Care Center of Fuhai County in the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region. She has won the love and respect of thousands of farmers and herdsmen on Xinjiang's Aleitai Plain.
According to Kazak customs, someone who helps mothers give birth to their babies is called "Mama". Jiang'er has delivered many babies on the grasslands. The local farmers and herdsmen say she has delivered as many babies as there are there are stars in the sky. "I'm the happiest Mama on the Aleitai Plain. No matter where I go, children call me Mama," says Jiang'er with a loving tenderness on her face.
In the winter of 2006, continuous snow falls blocked the roads. Just after dinner on the evening of January 4, Jiang'er received a call from the head of Qiganjidie Township Hospital and was told there were two pregnant women in a dangerous condition with unstable blood pressure in a mountain village 160 km away.
Road conditions were so bad especially on the mountain sections that she knew she would be risking her life to make the journey. Jiang'er did not give this a second thought. On hearing the news she left instructions for the care of some emergency cases and drove off into the darkness with another doctor.
The journey took them a whole day. Finally they arrived at the village where they dashed to the pregnant women's homes to look after them. On the next day, they managed to bring the two pregnant women safely down from the mountains. Both recovered well and their babies were born safely in April.
Jiang'er once said to her colleagues, "To a doctor, the greatest concern is the life and health of the patients." She practices what she preaches.
Jiang'er was appointed Head of the Maternity and Child Care Center of Fuhai County in 1998. She knew how difficult it was for herdsmen and their families in the remote mountains to make the journey to the center. So she made it her rule to go to them.
Where she is unable to drive, she goes on horseback or on foot. Almost all pregnant women and babies scattered around the remote mountains in her area receive a free health checkup or pregnancy examination.
In order to improve the medical equipment at the center, Jiang'er often carries her own food and takes the cheap night bus when she needs to go to the capital Urumchi 600 km away. Doctors from other counties tell her she should take the official car but she just says, "We can buy more medical equipment if we save on traveling expenses."
She has introduced regular further-study and intensive training for all the midwives in Fuhai County to help them improve the quality of service they can provide.
Thanks to her painstaking efforts, all the township hospitals in Fuhai County have been equipped with advanced medical equipment funded through a variety of projects including those aimed at reducing mortality rates among pregnant women and eliminating tetanus in new-born babies. In the years from 2001-2004 the death rate from these causes was zero.
The Maternity and Child Care Center of Fuhai County has been awarded the title of "Advanced Collective" conjointly by the Ministry of Health, the National Working Committee on Children and Women under the State Council, and the Ministry of Finance.
Jiang'er herself has also been honored with a number of highly prestigious titles such as "Excellent Communist Party Member of Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region", "Advanced Worker," and "March Eighth Red-Banner Pacesetter."
(China.org.cn, 17thcongress.org.cn by Zhang Ming'ai October 14, 2007)