China is considering fully implementing a pilot program that saw
thousands of doctors from urban hospitals serve in 600 rural
hospitals, said Mao Qun'an, spokesman of the Ministry of Health
(MOH) on Tuesday.
Since 2005 the country's health authorities organized more than
10,000 doctors from 518 urban hospitals to work in 1,300 hospitals
in remote areas. They treated more than two million patients and
trained 560,000 local medical staff.
Sending experienced urban doctors to work temporarily in rural
areas is just one of the things being considered to alleviate the
serious shortage of medical services in the countryside.
Statistics from the MOH show that only 20 percent of China's
medical resources are in rural areas which is home to about 70
percent of China's population.
Although a white paper, issued last December, said China's new
rural cooperative medical care system had been extended to 1,399
counties by June 2005, covering 495 million rural dwellers, medical
services are still not affordable and are inadequate for most rural
The Beijing News ran a special report last Thursday featuring
the heartbreaking story of a couple in their thirties who committed
suicide because they saw no way out of their poverty and illness.
The couple left behind their 78-year-old mother and 12-year-old son
who, like his parents, suffers from hepatitis B.
Mao Qun'an also said on Tuesday the MOH is dealing with 866
suggestions and proposals submitted this March by NPC deputies and
members of the national committee of the Chinese People's Political
Consultative Conference (CPPCC). Many of the suggestions center on
how to improve the new rural cooperative medical system and solve
the issue of inadequate rural medical services, among others, said
(Xinhua News Agency April 11, 2007)