Siemens AG kicked off a five-year rural healthcare project in China on Thursday. With a total investment of US$10 million, the project aims to provide rural residents in China's west with quality medical services.
Siemens' pilot program involves setting up the first "Rural Center of Medical Excellence" in Luochuan County of Yan'an, northwest Shaanxi Province, said Dr. Bernd Ohnesorge, president of Siemens Medical Solutions of Siemens AG.
Siemens will equip county-level hospitals in Luochuan with a full range of diagnostic imaging equipment, including ultrasound, X-ray and CT. It will also train physicians in the hospitals.
To prevent health threats to the environment from the hospital's wastewater, Siemens will also install water treatment equipment.
Siemens has not disclosed the cost of the Luochuan pilot program.
Zhang Huaixi, vice chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, said western China is facing financial difficulties in building a new countryside and extending a medical umbrella to rural residents.
"Take Luochuan as an example. The average medical equipment investment in the 200,000-people county hospitals is only 50,000 yuan (US$6,460)," Zhang said.
Siemens will upgrade equipment in six town health centers around the county, offering them Siemens-made X-ray and ultrasound machines.
"The company will evaluate the efficiency of healthcare delivery and find cost-effective solutions tailored to the specific needs of rural areas. We hope the outcomes from the project sites can serve as a model for rural areas throughout China." said Dr. Ohnesorge.
Siemens AG has established more than 70 operating companies and 60 regional offices in China, with about 43,000 local staff. Siemens Medical Solutions, a subsidiary of Siemens AG, is one of the world's largest healthcare industry suppliers.
(Xinhua News Agency April 6, 2007)