About 70 kilometers southwest of downtown Beijing lies the mountain township of Da'anshan, where the elderly account for more than half the population. Most have suffered from heart disease, high blood pressure and other chronic diseases for years.
Wang Jinhui, who has been working in the township health center since 2013, is committed to providing medical services for them. "More than 20 years have passed since I graduated, and I've never left this mountain clinic," he said.
When Wang arrived at Da'anshan about eight years ago, he found that empty-nest seniors with chronic diseases barely had access to medical services, while mountain roads made it even more difficult for them to get to the health center for treatment. To solve the problem, Wang came up with the idea of providing door-to-door service for villagers, which was not well-received initially. Rugged roads, a shortage of medical equipment and a lack of experience were all obstacles that had to be overcome.
Nevertheless, Wang and his colleagues insisted on trying to provide door-to-door medical service in Da'anshan. He divided the staff at the health center into five teams to cover the township. Each team consisted of a doctor, a pharmacist, a cashier and a driver, making it possible to provide mountain residents with medical treatment at home.
A door-to-door medical service has been offered in Da'anshan for about eight years, benefiting more than 70,000 villagers and establishing health files for over 3,700.
Zhang Chunping, who suffers from cerebral palsy, was not able to afford his medical bills, so the team decided to try acupuncture, physical therapy and massage to relieve his pain while minimizing prescriptions to help lower costs.
With township communities scattered through the mountains, the teams spend half a day in each. Door-to-door medical service is demanding work, especially for greenhorns. "Many of the staff at the Da'anshan center are in their 20s and 30s. They are still adapting to the tough working environment in the mountains, but it is our mission to help villagers and relieve their pain," Wang said.
To help young staff members learn faster, the center invites retired doctors from downtown Beijing to serve as mentors.
Wang was elected as a deputy to the Beijing Municipal People's Congress in 2017 and advocates for better salaries for medical workers in mountainous areas.
He said that all staff members in mountain health centers deserve admiration for never shying away from difficulties.