Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Baby for sale to pay medical bills | Ambulances misused by non-urgent callers | Avian flu returns more virulent


Rural migrant sells baby to pay medical bills

A rural migrant women from Sichuan has been trying to sell her baby on the street of Fuzhou to raise money to pay medical bills for the baby's father. Police were called when the women displayed a sign saying "Boss fled after industrial accident and we don't have the money for treatment; I'm willing to sell my child to save her father." The woman said she had already paid Y7000 in medical bills for treatment of her husband who had injured himself after falling from a construction site. Some sympathetic passers-by gave the women some money before she was persuaded to end her 'sale.'

Beijing ambulances used for non-urgent cases

Ambulance services in Beijing are overstretched because 80% of cases they transport are non-urgent and do not need to attend the emergency department, a survey has found. Only 20% of the people brought in to hospital by ambulances had life-threatening conditions, according to a report from the Beijing's Health Planning Commission, which found that most of the ambulance patients could be treated in the outpatients department. The commission has suggested that patients are triaged before being taken to hospital as many critically ill patients are left without transport while ambulances are dealing with non-urgent calls.

Avian flu returns more lethal

The severity of H7N9 avian flu in China increased with the "second wave" last winter and the virus may return in an even more virulent and lethal form this winter, researchers have warned. The lethality of the H7N9 virus increased by 48% from the first wave in 2013 to the second wave in 2014, according to Dr Li Feng and colleagues at the Key Laboratory of Surveillance and Early-warning on Infectious Disease at the China CDC, Beijing. In the latter part of the first wave the death rate among hospitalised patients was 17% for young people under 60 and 42% for people over 60. In the second epidemic the death rate was 36% in people under 60 years, and 59% in people aged 60 years or above.
"If another epidemic of human infections with influenza A(H7N9) virus occurs in the winter of 2014/15, proactive control measures on the poultry-human interface may be preferable to reactive measures," the researchers suggested.

Monday, 15 December 2014

Nurses inadequately trained | Child physical abuse common | Coal use causes black lung

Nurses lack adequate training

Only one in seven nurses in China undergoes a three year undergraduate training program, and many lack adequate training, medical educators have complained. In a letter to the Lancet, Liu Fengxia and colleagues at the Fourth Hospital of Hebei Medical University say that they are worried by the fact that most nurses in China not receive standard nursing training. Each year only 30,000 out of 186,000 graduate nurses earned standard bachelor degrees, they noted. Most nurses received only diplomas after brief training. The lack of education and the stressful working conditions mean that poorly trained nurses could make mistakes in patient care - and their lack of training may also be a factor in triggering violence against health staff.
"Nurses are intermediates between doctors and patients. In our practice, we have seen misunderstanding and mistrust between patients and doctors most probably due to of the inadequate training of nurses. A more comprehensive training system for nurses is needed," they write.

Physical punishment of children condemned

China's high rates of physical punishment of children amount to a culturally-accepted high level of child abuse, researchers have said. A major review found that 36% of children in China experienced physical abuse from parents, typically in the form of slapping and spanking for disciplinary reasons. They said the rates of physical punishment in mainland China were significantly higher than in other Asian countries, where the influence of western methods of parenting was stronger. The researchers said physical punishment was "culturally accepted" within Chinese society because the Confucian philosophy of parenting, which endorses parents’ authority and filial piety, is still prevalent in the minds of Chinese parents and children.
"A well-known proverb “gun bang di xia chu xiao zi” (also translated as “spare the rod, spoil the child”) indicates that the filial piety is achieved by strict physical discipline of children," they noted.
They said China's high rates of physical abuse were concerning because of the known associations with poor mental health and harmful behaviors, such as depressive disorders, anxiety disorders, eating disorders, childhood behavioral disorders, suicide attempts, drug use, and risky sexual behaviour.

Coal use leads to black lung

China's high use of coal for fuel has led to high rates of pneumoconiosis and "black lung", researchers say. In a Dow Jones report, clinicians said pneumoconiosis was common in mining workers and other coal-related industries, especially as workplace safety rules were often ignored in China. masks could help prevent pneumoconiosis but were often not provided to workers, they noted. The number of people diagnosed with pneumoconiosis has risen sevenfold from 2005 to 2013 to about 750,000, at an average pace of 35% annually, according to official data. And while treatment is available, it is often unaffordable for many low paid workers, labour activists note.

Sunday, 14 December 2014

Zhejiang hospital runs out of money, can't pay for medicines

by Michael Woodhead
A hospital near Taizhou in Zhejiang is "crying poor" saying that increasing patient burden and rising prices means it does not have enough money to buy essential drugs. The Xianju county hospital has out up a notice on its public LED screen asking for "understanding" because it is no longer able to provide medical supplies such as blood plasma. 

The hospital authorities said their outlays exceeded their income and they no longer had funds to buy drugs and other medical supplies. The director of the hospital, Chen Xiaojun, told Xinhua that the hospital was more than 15 million yuan in debt because the New Rural Medical Insurance Scheme did not cover all the expenses incurred by patients and the insurer was refusing to release further funds. The local health department was also refusing to provide further funding, and the unpaid bills of 11 million yuan meant that pharmaceutical companies were no longer willing to supply drugs to the hospital.

The shortage of drugs was most acute for the high cost drugs for conditions such as bronchitis and anaesthetics and other drugs needed to cover surgery, he said. This meant that operations at the hospital also had to be curtailed. Medical staff said patients were being advised to find another hospital if they had a serious disease, and medical staff were also complaining that their wages had not been paid for some months.

The hospital authorities blamed the 'bankruptcy' on three factors: they said the government reimbursement levels for had been set in 2008 and had not kept up with rising costs or increasing patient numbers. Secondly, the price of drugs had also increased substantially, leaving hospitals out of pockets, especially with new zero markup policies. And most importantly, the rural medical insurance scheme expanded the reimbursement to patients for inpatient costs from 40% to 80% of fees, which meant many patients now wanted to stay as inpatients for longer, driving up costs.

A spokesman for the Xianju country government said the relevant departments were now having a 'crisis meeting' to solve the problems that had led to the  lack of funding at the hotel. However a spokesman said the Xianju hospital was not the only hospital facing the problems of rising costs and falling income, and the problem had to be tackled on a wider basis by changing the reimbursement system and charges, he said.

The local government also criticised the hospital for making public announcements about its poor financial state and lack of medications, as this would lead to public panic and loss of faith, he said.

Sunday, 7 December 2014

Infusion superstition condemned | Hukou medical reform | Heavy metals found in wheat

Doctors condemn superstitious belief in infusions

A life-threatening incident of allergy to an infusion has lead a Shanghai doctor to criticise parents and grandparents for insisting their children have unnecessary infusions to treat minor illnesses with fever. A 12-year old boy with fever treated at the Ruijin Hospital  nearly died after having a massive allergic reaction to an infusion he was being given for a fever. The boy recovered thanks to the rapid response of medical staff, but doctors said they faced huge pressure from parents to give infusions when they were not needed. Doctors said parents had an almost superstitious belief in infusions and insisted on them to help their children get better quicker so they would have more time to study.

Hukou reform will give rural migrants healthcare rights

Millions of rural migrants may get access to affordable healthcare as China modifies its household registration (hukou) system to give more right to the floating population. In a major shift in policy, reforms to the residence permit system will grant migrants the same access as urban residents to  public services  such as medical treatment  for their children. The plan, which has been released for consultation by by the Legislative Affairs Office of the State Council, would allow migrant workers who stay in a city for half a year with a stable job and residence may apply for the residence permits.

Wheat near Yellow River contains heavy metals

People living near the Yellow River are being poisoned by eating crops containing high levels of heavy metals absorbed from irrigation water drawn from the river, a study shows. Wheat grown in areas around Baotou irrigated by Yellow River water showed high levels of mercury, lead and selenium, researchers from the Inner Mongolia University of Science and Technology showed. Crops also contained high levels of copper, zinc and manganese, they found.

Wednesday, 3 December 2014

Beijing doctor explains on Youku about bribes and commissions

by Michael Woodhead
A video is circulating on Youku of a man purporting to be a former surgeon at a Beijing hospital, explaining how the red envelope bribe and commission system works in China. 
The erstwhile doctor, claimed to be  Li Rui of the Beijing Aerospace Institute Hospital Urology department. He said that during his time working in surgery, doctors would make huge commissions by charging patients exhorbitant sums for ancillary items such as a 1500 yuan gauze pad to stop bleeding, on which they earned a 30% fee. He said surgeons performed many simple operations such as removing appendix in 10 minutes and then adding lots of expenses to the bills. Dr Li said it was best to work in procedural specialties such as orthopaedics, surgery and obstetrics where there were more opportunities to perform operations and use expensive medical supplies and devices. The man was purportedly giving a presentation at the well-known New Orient academy  in Beijing, although the institute denied any knowledge of his working there. In a statement the Beijing Aerospace Institute Hospital denied the man's claims, describing them as baseless and slanderous. The hospital said there had been a Dr Li working at the hospital but he had been absent for six months and thus his contract was terminated. The hospital said the man's statements on video lacked credibility, citing as an example that there was no way a surgeon could do an appendix removal in 10 minutes, even with the most modern equipment.
However, the video has been widely circulated on Chinese social media sites, drawing comments on the greed and corruption of doctors and the profit-seeking nature of public hospitals.

Tuesday, 2 December 2014

Diabetes in China: the numbers are staggering

by Michael Woodhead

The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology journal is this month running a series of articles focusing n type 2 diabetes in China.  

The numbers make for grim reading: more than 12% of Chinese are reported to have diabetes (100 million people) according to US criteria (although there is some dispute over whether these  criteria may result in overestimates).  Because of the lack of awareness and lack of adequate screening and intervention programs, many of the Chinese with diabetes are undiagnosed, untreated, or uncontrolled. 

The articles say that Chinese people are especially prone to type 2 diabetes at relatively low levels of overweight, and Chinese people are more susceptible to [insulin producing] beta cell failure and deficits in insulin production. The blame, unsurprisingly, is put on China's rapid development and shift to lifestyle factors such as eating an unhealthy diet and doing less exercise. 

A second article says that there are also problems with provision of prevention and treatment programs for diabetes in China. As well, there is little research on the best forms of drug therapy for Chinese people with diabetes. Newer [and more expensive] anti-diabetes agents such as the gliptins seem ideal, but they are not currently accessible or widely used by most doctors.

The articles conclude by saying that any solution to the diabetes epidemic in China must be based on multiple strategies: there needs to be healthcare reform to make diabetes prevention and treatment more widely available through primary care and through initiatives such as diabetes nurses. There are need to be major preventive health campaigns to promote healthier eating and activity, to reduce the risk factors for diabetes in China. The articles also note that health reforms are needed to provide adequate health insurance cover and reimbursement for treatment of diabetes patients in China

Monday, 1 December 2014

China's best case scenario for an Ebola outbreak: 3000 deaths

by Michael Woodhead

With more than 600,000 annual passenger arrivals from Africa and a poor to non-existent public health infrastructure in most parts of the country, China faces  a very real risk of an Ebola outbreak. That the verdict of infectious disease specialists who have modelled what will happen if a person with Ebola lands in China and is not detected immediately.

Dr Chen Tianmu and colleagues from the Changsha Center for Disease Control and Prevention have used data from previous Ebola outbreaks overseas and also from outbreaks of dengue and HIV viruses in China to model the likely spread of the infection before it can be brought under control. They modelled several different scenarios based on different levels of infectivity of the virus and different levels of detection and containment.

They based their calculation on the fact that there were 524,900 African visitors and 112,966 Chinese returning from Africa each year in China. Based on current distribution of Ebola Virus Disease and the rates of carriage in Africa, they estimated that 0.04%–0.16% of these arriving passengers in China (255–1021 people) may carry Ebola. Even if an optimistic assumption is made that only 1% of them slip through the entry-exit inspection and only 1% of these are not picked up by further reporting and monitoring follow ups, this would still mean 3-10 Ebola virus carriers could be at large in China.

The researchers noted that China lacks a primary care system and most sick patients go direct to hospitals that are overcrowded and where Ebola patients might spread the virus to others. China also has limited public health reporting and surveillance systems for much of the country, and it would therefor be possible that cases of Ebola virus could be misdiagnosed and slip though the net until the patient became symptomatic and infectious.

The researchers then calculated that the likely impact of such 'index cases' spreading the Ebola infection to others would be outbreaks of Ebola in China affecting between 6000-10,000 people. With a likely fatality rate of around 50% this would mean a severe mortality burden for China, they wrote.

Writing in Travel Medicine and Infectious Diseases, they said the lack of Ebola testing facilities in China and poor infection control practices would further encourage the spread of the infection, they predicted. Other factors, such as the lack of quality control on blood transfusions (as seen with outbreaks of HIV and hepatitis) would also increase the risk of spreading Ebola in China, they warned.

"Even if a good surveillance and monitoring system is implemented at immigration, an effective and efficient local medical response system involving primary health care providers and awareness of the general public is necessary to minimise the risk of an Ebola Virus outbreak due to other unknown sources," they suggested.

Sunday, 30 November 2014

Cancer treatment unaffordable | Drug pricing corruption | Premier tackles HIV stigma | Rare diseases not reimbursed | US medical exams popular in China

Public punchbag to pay son's cancer fees
In Beijing a man who cannot afford the Y700,000 ($114,000) medical bills for his son with leukaemia has offered himself as a public punchbag to raise money. The man called Xia Jun stands outside Guomao station and asks for 10 Yuan to be thumped. He says he has collected 10,000 yuan in one day without anyone taking up the opportunity to hit him.

Corruption on drug price setting cited as reason for abolition
The recent move to abolish price caps for prescription medicines was triggered by corruption in the agency charged with setting drug prices. Critics said officials in the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) were under investigation by the anti-corruption and bribery bureau under the Supreme People's Procurate for taking bribes. Pharma company executives said the current pricing system forced them to pay bribes to regulators to set higher procurement prices.

Premier lends support to ending HIV stigma
Premier Li Keqiang has shown public support for people with HIV and aimed to dispel prejudice and ignorance about the infection by visiting  a HIV clinic at the inspected Beijing You'an Hospital.
 For World AIDS Day, the Premier met HIV patients and healthcare workers and said the old attitudes of fear surrounding the topic of HIV must be abandoned and HIV patients need more care.

Rare diseases slip through the health insurance cracks
China's health system is not working for children with rare diseases, as their families face high treatment costs and no access to medical fee reimbursement, according to an article in the SCMP. One mother of a 3-year old boy with Langerhans cell histiocytosis (LCH) said his bills for diagnosis and treatment had reached nearly 200,000 yuan ($33,000), of which just 4,800 yuan ($780) had been reimbursed by the rural medical insurance scheme.

US medical exams popular in China
Thousands of China's medical students and young doctors are studying for the US Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE) that will allow them to practice medicine in the US. However, despite studying for up to 1500 hours for the exam, many of them say they are taking it to improve their medical skill rather than just to get a better paying job. Many Chinese students said the US medical exams taught them a more patient-centred approach and put more emphasis on communication and empathy rather than just rote-learning of medical facts. The test is also taken by many of the 60,000 foreign students studying medicine in China.

Survivors of Mao's 1959 Great Famine now in poor health

by Michael Woodhead
The Great Famine of 1959-61 triggered by Mao Zedong's disastrous  agricultural policies is estimated to have caused 16-30 million deaths.  But its effects are still being felt among the survivors - especially the children who were born around that time and who are now reaching retirement age. 
In a major national survey two Chinese researchers Fan Wen and Qian Yue have found that the "59-61" generation have significantly worse physical and self rated health than a similar cohort of unaffected people. The poor health is not unexpected given the malnutrition experienced by the children growing up in that era. Previous studies have shown major effects on growth retardation and development. Interestingly, the researchers found that those currently in the worst health tended to be people from families who had Communist Party connections. This was presumably a 'weak survivor' effect because people with Party connection had better access to food during the famine, whereas   families without Party connections would simply have starved, killing off the weaker children. Writing in Social Science Research, the  researchers say there are millions of Chinese in their fifties and sixties who in poor health because of the early life effects of the famine.
They conclude: "Having experienced one of the largest famines in human history, these individuals are now moving through their retirement years. Our study suggests the necessity of paying special attention to this cohort, with programs designed specifically to meet their special needs."

Thursday, 27 November 2014

Drug price caps abolished | Healthcare staff HIV knowledge lacking | China develops drug for lung cancer

Drug prices to rise as price caps abolished

The Chinese government is to abolish price caps on all medicines in a move to end drug shortages and bring market forces into play on the country's pharmaceutical supply system. Draft rules propose to "cancel government-set prices on drugs, and through insurance price controls and the tendering process, allow the actual transaction price of drugs to be set by market competition,"an official report said. Drug prices will in future be determined by health insurance departments,  tendering processes and negotiations, it said. Analysts said the government would have to strike a balance between keeping essential medicines affordable and ensuring that companies had enough profit to ensure supply of medicines.

HIV ignorance still common in rural China
Healthcare workers in rural China have a poor understanding of HIV and how it is transmitted, a study carried out in Shaanxi has shown. When subject to a knowledge test on HIV, healthcare workers such as nurses and medical technicians scored only about half of questions correctly, and showed a lack of knowledge of about the transmission of HIV, exposure risks and appropriate protection measures. The lack of knowledge about HIV also translated into inappropriate behaviours, said researchers from the Xi’an Jiaotong University School of Public Health.

Lung cancer drug shows promise
China's homegrown epidermal growth factor receptor inhibitor (EGFR) icotinib (Conmana) shows promise for non-small cell lung cancer, researchers say. The targeted anti-cancer molecule has been researched and produced by the Zhejiang-based Beta pharmaceutical company. It has shown good results published in the Lancet and offers a lower cost alternative to western drugs for the disease that is very common in China, say experts.

Monday, 24 November 2014

China's move to a GP-based primary care system: lots of policy, little progress

In China the average salary for a GP is about half that of a hairdresser.
by Michael Woodhead

If you relied on the official Chinese media you could be forgiven for thinking that China's primary care system was the best thing since sliced bread. Hardly a week goes by without an article extolling the virtues of the new networks of general practitioner-based community health clinics.

Many cities such as Beijing and Shanghai are strongly encouraging all residents to enrol with the local community medical centre and to visit the GP for everyday ailments rather than going direct to hospital. The public are enticed to see GP clinics with incentives, such as the free or low cost availability of GP clinic services and ease of getting to see a GP with little need for waiting or queuing up for registration, as is the case with hospitals. Unfortunately, the great Chinese public are not buying it, and they continue to make a beeline for hospitals whenever they are sick.

This week a revealing commentary in the Quarterly Journal of Medicine paints a more realistic picture of China's fledgling GP system. In fact, fledgling isn't the word, foundling might be a better descriptor.

According to the article by Dr Kong Xiangyi and Dr Yang Yi of the Peking Union Medical College Hospital and Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences, the primary care system is in a kind of "Failure to Launch" status. They say the government's stated aim of training 150, 000 GPs by 2015 is pie in the sky. The problem, it seems, is that nobody wants to be a GP and nobody wants to see a GP. In China, to be a doctor in the community health service is a low-status position in an underfunded and unrecognised branch of medicine. As the two doctors point out, "the average annual income of a Chinese GP is less than half of a hairdresser and far lower than a specialist."

Part of the problem is that there isn't really any good local model for the would-be GP to emulate. There is no real definition of a GP, and currently many GPs are little more than barefoot doctors - local clinic practitioners who have received five years of basic training in health and medicine. They are employed to offer the "Six Basics" of health: prevention, health education, women and children’s care, elderly care, immunisations and physical rehabilitation. There is also a three-year postgraduate program for medical graduates to train as GPs, similar to that seen in western countries. However, there are very few takers for these courses and their impact on the national medical workforce has been minimal.

The authors of the article say that there appears to be little real enthusiasm for creating a genuine general practice system in China. As they put it, there is a lot of policy, but very little concrete support for funding and training programs. There are no primary care institutions or programs in China: the speciality is a career dead end, and the cream of China's medical expertise and social status is still centred around the big teaching hospitals.

The solution, according to the authors, is for China to emulate foreign countries that operate well-funded and high status family medicine programs. The aim must be to create a gatekeeper system in which patients are triaged by the GP before being allowed to see a specialist. And conversely, GPs must be enabled to provide follow up care after a patient is discharged from hospital. To do this, the health ministry needs to harness the skills and the prestige of the major hospitals to implement such programs.

Until that happens, patients will continue to avoid the community medical clinics, which are underfunded and have poor quality and outdated equipment. The lack of funding means that GPs have to charge commissions on drugs and medical supplies, further eroding trust in their services.

"China’s current reforms still do not emphasize enough the value of GP led primary care," they conclude.

Sunday, 23 November 2014

China's anaesthetists are dying of overwork

by Michael Woodhead
The sudden death of a 40-year old anaesthetist at the Beijing Fuwai hospital this month has put the spotlight on the high work burden of anaesthetists in China and the shortage of doctors in this speciality. 

Colleagues of the doctor who died of a brain haemorrhage after a long shift are not only mourning him but also the dire state of their branch of medicine. Many of the deceased doctor's colleagues said it could have been them, given the amount of strain they are working under. As one doctor told the CCTV news station, anaesthetists were working such long hours that some of them took naps on spare operating tables. And it was well known that there have been more than 15 fatigue- and stress-related sudden deaths among anaesthetists in recent years.

A recent survey carried out by the Chinese Medical Association's anaesthesia branch found that more than half of the doctors were working shifts in excess of 10 hours a day and 80% believed they were working beyond safe limits to do their job properly. In addition, 70% of anaesthetists said they were dissatisfied with their branch of medicine.

These findings were confirmed in an interview with an anaesthetist in her mid 40s who told reporters that it was not unusual to do 12 hours shifts due to the lack of staff and it was even known for doctors to work right through a double shift of 24 hours.

The president of the CMA anaesthetist branch Professor Hou Ren  said the job was highly stressful as they literally had people's lives in their hands every hour of the day. The job was especially taxing because of the high workload and lack of time for preparation, which meant that an anaesthetist might be dealing with a frail elderly person one minute, then a person with cardiovascular problems the next and later a pregnant woman . Each of these situations required very different management and skills, he said and anaesthetist had to make decision and adjustments according to a patient's condition by the minute.

He said the main problem was that the anaesthetist workforce had not kept track with the increasing number of hospital patients and operations. There were 2.8 million doctors in China, of whom only 2.5% were anaesthetists, which meant there was a national shortage of about 70,000 anaesthetists.
And while some hospitals had enough anaesthetists in theory, in practice there were always shortages because anaesthetists were off sick, on study leave or because they had to teach students.

To remedy the problem some general physicians were being re-trained as temporary anaesthetists, but this was only a short term solution, he said. Another way of addressing the problem was to learn from foreign countries which had managed to use anaesthetists more efficiently through the use of technology and better staff management, he added. In the meantime, anaesthetists faced high levels of pressure and there would continue to be overwork, stress and potentially unsafe work situations.

Saturday, 22 November 2014

County hospitals under scrutiny | iKang CEO gets award | Mass General expands into China

China sends in hit squads to fix unpopular country hospitals
Authorities in China have decided to take action to tackle the growing problem of Chinese patients leapfrogging their local hospitals and making a beeline for the big city hospitals (which makes them hopelessly overcrowded).  County hospitals are seen by many Chinese as second rate and over priced, and hence they willing to travel long distances to be seen by a doctor in a major hospital in a big city. Now the State Council has decided to send teams to inspect improvements at county-level public hospitals around the country.The teams will conduct onsite inspections to ensure that reforms are being implemented, including overhauls of financing to eliminate commissions and profiteering in commissioning and contracts.

Healthcare tycoon wins entrepreneur award
The head of medical centre operator iKang has won an international award for being Entrepreneur of the Year. Zhang Ligang, who is CEO of iKang, has been named as the EY Entrepreneur of the Year in the 2014 National Life Science Awards. Mr Zhang is the founder of iKang, which now owns 50 private medical clinics and has contract arrangements with a further 300 medical facilities and hospitals.

Friday, 21 November 2014

Prejudice against leprosy patients triggers riots in Hainan over new medical centre

by Michael Woodhead
Deeply felt cultural phobias and prejudices about infectious diseases have triggered mass riots in the southern province of Hainan, where local residents in Haikou violently opposed the construction of a leprosy recovery centre.
According to local reports, thousands of local residents in Hainan clashed with riot police over the construction of a new dermatology clinic in the Sanjiang district for  patients recovering from infections including leprosy and STDs.
Although authorities explained that patients who had recovered from leprosy were no longer infectious, this was not enough to assuage the fears of local residents, who strongly opposed the building of the clinic and rest facilities in their neighbourhood. Authorities said the clinic was a rehab centre for elderly people who had recovered from the disease and who were no longer contagious, but local people violently opposed the building of the clinic.
According to Chinese state media, local people clashed with police and overturned police vehicles. Several police and local residents were injured in the riot.
Local authorities were reported to have ceased construction of the clinic until a consensus could be achieved with local residents.

Thursday, 20 November 2014

9 scary health stories from China that might put you off working there

1. Six nurses have been murdered and a hospital janitor killed in a knife attack on a hospital dormitory in Hebei. The attack at the No. 281 Hospital in Qinhuangdao was thought to be the work of a 27-year old male from Tangshan, who has been detained by police.

2. Outdoor pollution can't be escaped by staying indoors in China because it is also a major cause of sick building syndrome, according to researchers at the Institute of Environmental Science, Shanxi University, Taiyuan. In a study of 2134 school students they found that many suffered from skin and mucosal problems that were exacerbated by high levels of outdoor air  pollutants such as SO2, NO2, O3 and PM10 particles.

3. A quack doctor in Henan has been jailed for 15 years after he killed a student with what he claimed to be a traditional Chinese medicine cure based on soy sauce, sugar and vinegar. The 65-year  old bogus healer had only just been released from jail after serving an 11-year sentence for the same offence - his previous quack remedies had killed as several people in Luoyang.

4. Make no bones about it - China has about a quarter of a billion osteoporotic fractures every year due to brittle bones. A study from Anhui Medical University and Nanjing Medical University estimated that in 2010 there were more than 2.3 million osteoporosis-related hip, clinical vertebral and wrist fractures in Chinese people aged 50 years and over, costing the Chinese healthcare system US$9.61 billion.

 5. An outbreak of scrub typhus that originated in a Guangzhou park killed four people and caused serious disease in 29 people, according to local researchers. The outbreak at the Xiaogang Park in May 2012 seemed to affect people who sat on the grass or who were near rat burrows.

6. One in seven young Chinese are Weibo addicts, findings from a study in Anhui suggest. In a study of more than 3000 college students between 4% and 15% of students showed signs of addiction to Weibo-like microblogs, including cravings, dependence, withdrawal and disruption to everyday activities, according to researchers at the Laboratory of Brain Function and Disease, and School of Life Science, University of Science and Technology of China, Hefei.

7. Extreme weather triggers heart attacks, according to a Jiangsu study. Heart attacks were found to be more common following changes in atmospheric pressure and variations in temperature, according to a study by Dr Jia Enzhi of the Department of Cardiovascular Medicine, First Affiliated Hospital of Nanjing Medical University. The findings suggested that climate change could have a major impact on cardiovascular disease rates, he concluded.

8. Superbugs are already a major problem in China and now it has been shown that the use of animal manure as fertiliser is spreading the problem of antibiotic resistance even further. A study of agricultural soil in Jiangsu found that fertiliser was responsible for the high prevalence of sulfonamide-resistant bacteria and their resistance genes.

9. A previously unrecognised tick disease may be endemic in several parts of China inlcuding Yunnan and Zhejiang, say parasitologists.After a recent epidemic of babesiosis in malarial areas of Yunnan they carried out a review that suggests the diseases carried by ticks and rodents may have caused many more  cases of disease and outbreaks in recent years that were mischaracterised as other tick-borne fevers.