CHINA Family doctors provide essential medical services to the poor

CHINA

Family doctors provide essential medical services to the poor

CGTN

06:49, March 15, 2019

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(Photo: CGTN)

Zhai Dalong and his wife are village doctors. They've worked in a small village for over 10 years.

They are part of a group of doctors from three levels of hospitals: county, town and village. They do follow-up visits for patients with chronic diseases, especially those from low-income families.

Zhai is now also the family practitioner for low-income families in three villages, providing medical consultations and keeping track of health records. And it's all done free of charge.

"I am adjusting the dosage of these medicines for her because her blood pressure has been rising ever since she left the hospital," said Zhai.

This is part of a tiered medical system that China is building. Zhai is among doctors who work on the front lines, helping China's most impoverished people.

"Many of my patients are reluctant to take medicine or too poor to pay for it," said Zhai. "Sometimes I charge them no fee."

Inside a house provided by the local government, Zhai runs a small clinic.

As more young people now work in cities, his patients are either the old or young children.

"We used to try really hard to persuade people to take hypertensive drugs," said Zhai while grinding pills. "Now they are aware of the dangers and will take the initiative and ask me about them. Changes are happening: we used to treat diseases, now we help prevent diseases."

More doctors are encouraged to join the effort, as many villages still don't have doctors. Meanwhile, Zhai and his colleagues are going to set up a free clinic in a remote village. They are village doctors and doctors from several nearby hospitals. The medicine is provided by a pharmaceutical enterprise for free.

Yang Chenjuan, a pediatrician, is a new team member.

"I just joined this team over a year ago, but I have visited several villages in my spare time. It is a good experience to help these people."

Wang Qian is from local Maternity and Child Care Center. "We are participating in a national project to treat cataracts for free. We also must make more rural residents aware of more poverty-reducing policies."

So far, Zhai and his colleague have visited 80 villages and helped over 100,000 people.

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