Tibet Autonomous Region in southwest China spent 120 million yuan (US$16 million) in 2008 to renovate or build health care institutions, an official with the regional health department said Wednesday.
Purbu Zhoima, the bureau director, said that the regional government built 20 county-level Tibetan hospitals, two health care centers, six centers for disease control and renovated 10 district-level hospitals last year.
"It was hard for us to get decent medical services two years ago," said Anu, a 42-year-old Tibetan herder in Doilungdeqen county of Lhasa.
Dolkar mom(L) who lives in Qinu village of Daga town in Lhasa, capital of southwest China's Tibet Autonomous Region, takes blood pressure in the town health center on Nov. 26, 2008. The Tibet Autonomous Regional Government has decided to build a third hospital this year in the regional capital of Lhasa, in a bid to further improve the medical and health care system. [xinhua]
"But now we can go to village clinics and county health care centers for medical treatments. We can also go to big hospitals in Lhasa, where medical facilities are much better and modern," the man said.
Rural Tibetans can enjoy better medical services in big hospitals, because hospital expenses can be partly covered by the government, said Anu, whose words were echoed by Zhoima.
"The central government raised the medical subsidy for rural Tibetans to 140 yuan per person in 2008 from 100 yuan in 2007," Zhoima said.
The central government has spent more than 1.8 billion yuan in the past 30 years on developing health care in Tibet, according to official figures.
"We will continue our efforts to improve the medical and healthcare services for Tibetans," Zhoima said. "We plan to set up four county-level centers for disease control and 93 county clinics in Tibet by the end of the year."
(Xinhua News Agency February 19, 2009)