E-mail lunthesis@163.com Phone 0551-65179860-203

Volunteer doctors bring new hope to isolated communities

Pub Date:2022-08-18 09:03 Source:China Daily


Ling Feng, head of the Chinese Medical Volunteers initiative and an expert in neurosurgery at Capital Medical University's Xuanwu Hospital, examines a patient in Nangqen county, Qinghai province. ZHU XINGXIN/CHINA DAILY

Practitioners from developed areas provide free treatment on the high plateau.Wang Xiaoyu reports from Yushu Tibetan autonomous prefecture, Qinghai.

Ultrasound specialist Wang Tao earned the nickname "magic hands" after he examined 317 local patients in one day as a volunteer doctor in Yushu Tibetan autonomous prefecture, Qinghai province.

Wang's endeavor was equal to the daily workload of the entire sonography department at his regular workplace, a city-level hospital in Shaanxi province.

"It was a tough battle," he said, while inhaling deeply from an oxygen cylinder that became a necessity for him in Yushu, which stands at an average altitude of more than 4,200 meters above sea level.

More than 40 volunteer doctors like Wang visited four counties across the far-flung, sparsely-populated prefecture in Northwest China to provide free medical services from Aug 6 to 11, ahead of Chinese Doctors' Day, which falls on Friday.

Their immediate intention was modest. They wanted to help as many patients as possible during their six-day stay. The group also had a grander plan in mind-to get in touch with grassroots healthcare workers to help improve their skills in the future via online meetings and messages.

The operation was launched by an initiative called Chinese Medical Volunteers, which aims to boost healthcare services in impoverished areas. Since it was established in March 2017, more than 5,000 healthcare workers have registered with the initiative, visiting more than 200 counties that were previously designated as national-level poverty-stricken areas.

During the tour's launch ceremony on Aug 6, Ling Feng, head of the initiative and a national political adviser, said that about half the volunteer doctors in the operation had participated in previous tours.

"Some places we plan to visit this time are very remote, and we will deliver healthcare services at township-level hospitals for the first time," said Ling, who is also a leading neurosurgeon.


Volunteers take a vow in Yushu Tibetan autonomous prefecture, Qinghai. ZHU XINGXIN/CHINA DAILY

Lifestyle ailments

With a population of around 10,000, Drongshok-"homeland of herders" in Tibetan-is a typical herding township in Yushu.

"There are only eight households near the township center, and most residents roam the prairie and highlands to herd yaks all year or dig for caterpillar fungus (a valuable medicinal herb) in the deep mountains for weeks during summer," said Losang Nyima, head of the Drongshok township health clinic.

That lifestyle has led to a high incidence of rheumatic diseases, which cause the immune system to attack the joints, muscles, bones and organs. The Drongshok clinic alone has registered nearly 3,500 people who have the chronic illness.

That was why volunteer doctor Du Wei, an acupuncturist at the Affiliated Hospital of Shaanxi University of Chinese Medicine, found a long line forming outside his temporary department at the rural clinic.

"I brought five packs of acupuncture needles with me, but I almost ran out on the first day," Du said.

"Most patients here had never tried traditional Chinese medicine acupuncture before, and they were amazed by the immediate effects."

Kunga Gyaltsan, 78, a monk from a nearby monastery, was so satisfied with the treatment that he got up at 7 am the next day to see Du again.

"The treatment is very soothing and I had a good sleep last night," he said. "I want to see the doctor as much as possible before he leaves."

Novel approach

During his stay in Drongshok, Du taught Dudul, a local rural doctor, some basic acupuncture skills. He also promised to keep in touch to answer any questions in the future.

As a practitioner of traditional Tibetan medicine, Dudul-who like many people from the Tibetan ethnic group only uses one name-is familiar with the use of needles.

However, it was the first time he had seen the combination of acupuncture with moxibustion, a therapy that entails burning mugwort leaves on particular points of the body, as well as the use of low-frequency therapy to relieve back pain.

"To see the effects of these novel methods with my own eyes motivates me to learn and work harder," he said.

"Dudul is on the right track," Du said, as he guided his pupil to insert needles into the correct acupuncture points on a patient's knee and asked him to cover the patient's legs with a cloth to prevent the ashes from the burning mugwort leaves from hurting him.

"When I was a medical student, I practiced acupuncture on a stack of paper napkins," Du said. "Dudul can train by practicing on a foam board, and I will also send him some acupuncture books."


Chen Mingguang (second right), an orthopedic surgeon with the Affiliated Hospital of Shaanxi University of Chinese Medicine, performs an operation in Nangqen. ZHU XINGXIN/CHINA DAILY

Fulfillment, regrets

Wang Tao, who saw nearly 400 patients during a day-and-a-half in Yushu's Kyichu township, found the experience to be fulfilling, but not without some regrets.

He was shocked when the family members of a patient with thyroid cysts burst in to call off a surgical intervention because a local Living Buddha, a venerable monk, had told the family that it was not the right time for the treatment.

Wang was also deeply touched when Tashi Drime, a local Tibetan doctor he took under his wing as an apprentice during his short stay in Yushu, knocked on his door the evening before his departure and gave him a small keepsake as a mark of gratitude.

"Tashi Drime has solid knowledge of ultrasound scanning and is able to complete basic examinations," Wang said. "However, he needs to improve his diagnostic skills to provide accurate results for common and complicated diseases, so we will certainly keep in touch to work toward that goal."

Ma Haibo, a rural doctor in Drongshok, called for more support to improve health awareness in such areas.

"We distribute health promotion brochures in different villages every year, but it is very hard to persuade people to adopt healthier habits, and the results of our efforts have been limited so far," he said.

For instance, Ma said that in some families, only the seniors were left to live alone deep in mountains. They were unable to remember to take medication regularly to contain high blood pressure and they had poor compliance with doctors' orders.

"As grassroots medical workers, we need stronger support and guidance on how to improve health awareness among local residents," he said.

Contact the writer at wangxiaoyu@chinadaily.com.cn

Editor:Li Ruichuan

Related News
- Volunteer doctors bring new hope to isolated communities    2022-08-18 09:03
- A dance teacher in a wheelchair    2022-08-11 08:58
- Sending martyr's photo home, vlogger in social media lime...    2022-07-27 10:17
- Chinese dancer pursues dream on wheels    2022-07-25 09:44
photo  >>
Wuhu, Anhui: 100,000 mu of canola flowers blossoming
Guest countries of honor attract visitors at 6th CIIE
Video  >>
Vlog | Explore the Chu Culture Museum
Vlog | Explore Shouxian, the birthplace of Chu culture
People  >>
Hebei rolls out red carpet for talent
Transnational couple revives ancient dwelling in east China
Travel  >>
Huangshan listed among China's Top 10 scenic cities
China expects travel spree during May Day holiday
Contact Us
Copyright ©2000-2021 anhuinews.com All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited. 皖B2-20080023-7