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China moves to assess village doctors' qualification
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China has moved to assess the qualification of the country's village doctors to improve the quality of the medicare service in the vast rural area.

Village doctors will be evaluated by county-level health bureaus on the basis of their medical techniques, professional ethics and feedback from villagers, according to the regulation on the management of village doctors' profession.

The regulation, posted on the Ministry of Health website on Thursday, only applies to doctors who had already obtained a medicare license and practiced medical service in villages.

The doctors could continue their profession if they pass the assessment, according to the regulation, adding those who fail the first time could re-apply within six months.

Those who were disqualified for the second time and failed to apply to have them evaluated in time would have their licenses revoked, the regulation said.

The assessment is organized once every two years since a regulation on the village doctors' professional qualification took effect in 2004.

The early regulation required medical practitioners in the countryside to apply for licenses before continuing their practice.

Licensed applicants had to obtain a medicare diploma at or above vocational education, or have been working in grassroots medical institutions for at least 20 years, or qualified in medicare training offered by provincial-level health authorities.

China has about 1.02 million village doctors, accounting for a quarter of the country's medical population. Only 10 percent had qualifications, according to a China News Service report on Thursday.

(Xinhua News Agency September 5, 2008)

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