Doctors help rural residents remain healthy

Updated: Apr 3, 2024 China Daily Print
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GUIYANG — Village doctor Lei Zhaojin arrives at a health clinic in Southwest China's Guizhou province each day before 8 am.

She promptly dons her white coat and begins attending to the patients who are waiting.

Lei, 48, has worked at the Duoding community clinic in Weng'an county since graduating from medical school in 1998.

Her daily routine includes conducting consultations and performing massage therapy. Currently, three village doctors are working at the clinic.

Village doctors are playing a key role in the healthcare of China's vast rural areas. They travel door to door to answer patients' calls, especially those who live in hard-to-reach hamlets.

Mountainous and hilly areas account for 92.5 percent of the province's total land area.

In China, there are over 1.3 million village doctors like Lei. They are considered health guardians in towns and villages, offering emergency response and medical support.

Besides diagnosing common illnesses, their main responsibilities include managing the health of patients with chronic conditions, handling infectious disease reports and conducting health check-ups for the elderly.

Lei's home is only about 300 meters from the clinic, but she hangs an LED display screen at her doorstep, showing her contact information.

"I am ready to serve the villagers 24 hours a day," Lei said.

Like Lei, 55-year-old village doctor Luo Haixiang has been working at a community clinic in Baigu village in Guizhou for 38 years.

After graduating from medical school in 1986, Luo returned home and served as a village doctor.

To make home visits easier, she even bought a car five years ago.

"Now it's much more convenient," she said.

This year, more than 140 of her fellow villagers have been diagnosed with high blood pressure, and there are nine with diabetes. In addition, more than 200 elderly people are given health examinations once a year.

To keep them healthy, Luo opts to conduct public health services by visiting villagers during the early morning and late evening hours, as these are the times when the majority of villagers are likely to be home.

Currently, she goes out for home visits about four times a week, and sometimes she has to go out every day to provide public health services.

"The busiest work throughout the year is still conducting public health services," she said. "In remote mountainous areas, the distances between households are very far."

In order to enhance the sense of achievement among village doctors and further encourage them to safeguard the health of rural communities, China continues to take targeted measures.

This year, the National Health Commission will continue to foster more medical talent for rural areas and expand the enrollment size of medical students trained for rural areas with free tuition.

Meanwhile, training programs will also be organized to enhance the diagnosis, treatment and health management abilities of existing medical personnel in China's rural areas, according to the NHC.


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