Rural Health Network Takes Shape in Western China

More than 70 participants, including the deans of nine medical universities, attended a CMB Western Rural Health Network Workshop in the capital city of Inner Mongolia, Hohhot, on September 3-5, 2011. Reports on CMB-funded projects in Guangxi, Guiyang, Inner Mongolia, Kunming, Lanzhou, Ningxia, Qinghai, Tibet, and Xinjiang highlighted progress to date in promoting innovative education to prepare rural doctors in these underdeveloped provinces of China. Additional presentations focused on collaborative efforts to craft workforce development policy, integrate township-village health services, and devise a three-year curriculum for rurally oriented medical programs.

Rural health is an emerging priority of the Chinese Government. Ministry of Health Deputy Director-General, Jin Shengguo, announced China’s “5+3 General Practitioner program” at the workshop. Government has adopted the ambitious goal of ensuring 2-3 general practitioners per 10,000 population in township clinics by 2020. Peking Union Medical College President Zeng announced at the workshop the launching of the first “training of trainers” for the 5+3 program.

At the Hohhot workshop, the participating medical schools agreed to the formation of a Western Rural Health Network that will promote rural health, share information, develop joint activities, and improve the educational and research performance of the participating schools. Guangxi Medical College will draft a charter for the network and host the next network meeting. Lanzhou Medical College will construct a website and distribute a newsletter, and Ningxia Medical College will plan a study tour of network deans to visit and learn from international experiences.

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