Monday, 6 May 2019

Who will protect the health of rural residents in China if village doctors run out?

By Le Yang and Hongman Wang
Abstract: This paper discusses the current situation of Chinese village doctors and highlights the importance of increasing the number of village doctors for better health service and a stronger health system. This study reviewed relevant health policies and data from the Chinese Statistic Year Book 2016 to assess the current status of Chinese village doctors and clinics. The Chinese government has launched a set of healthcare reforms to strengthen primary health care (PHC), especially in rural areas. However, the recruitment and retention of village doctors has not been successful. The analysis of available data suggests that fewer doctors or graduated medical students want to work in village clinics and provide services for rural residents. It is widely recognised in China and other countries that a good PHC system protects the population’s health at low cost. To achieve a better health system, the Chinese government should strengthen PHC, expanding the village clinics’ coverage to improve access to PHC and basic public health, and introduce more sustainable policies to attract more PHC practitioners to Chinese villages.