Public Health

Last Update: 2008-3-11; By chinatravelservice

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Public Health
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A number of the larger cities have western style medical facilities with international and local staff. Some other hospitals in major Chinese cities have gaogan bingfang -  wards which are equipped with reasonably up-to-date medical technology and physicians who are both knowledgeable and skilled. Many of these wards will  provide medical services to foreigners and have English-speaking doctors and nurses.  There are also some foreign-operated medical providers who cater to expatriates and visitors.

Most hospitals and medical facilities will require either a deposit, or payment up front.  Those in major cities may accept credit cards, but others may insist on cash.  They will not all recognise foreign medical insurance.  It is advisable to check your own travel insurance carefully before you leave to confirm what you may be able to claim on your return. 

Ambulances are not equipped with sophisticated technology, and seriously ill visitors are recommended to take a taxi to the nearest facility rather than wait for an ambulance.  Facilities in rural areas may be limited.

After the founding of New China in 1949 the Chinese government put the emphasis of medical work on the rural health services, disease prevention and health care and giving a boost to traditional Chinese medicine. Great efforts were devoted to setting up medical and public health institutions. A nationwide public health network has now been basically formed and an adequate contingent of medical personnel has been established. China’s medical education system is complete, and a large group of medical experts has been trained. By the end of 1999, there were 310,000 public health institutions (including clinics) with 3.16 million beds, of which 2.93 million beds were in hospitals and clinics. There were 4.46 million medical personnel, including 2.05 million doctors and 1.25 million nurses. The public health institutions, hospital and clinic beds and medical personnel increased by 83 percent, 58 percent and 81 percent, respectively, compared with those in 1978.

The technical level of public health has improved greatly, and the management and supervision of medical work have been strengthened. An urban and rural medical insurance system combining state planning and fee paying has been established. Traditional Chinese medicine and Western medicine have been promoted simultaneously. The incidence of many epidemic diseases has dropped considerably, and some endemic diseases are now under control. Rural health work has been improved, greatly contributing to the overall health of the population. The average life expectancy of Chinese people, the death rate of infants and childbirth death rates have almost reached the levels of developed countries.

 See a doctor in China

According to the hospital facilities, technical standards and the overall quality of medical services, The Ministry of Health classify the hospitals into three classes--one, two, three (3 referring to the highest level of integrated hospitals), and each class is divided into three grades- first, second third. The first-class hospitals are mainly sanitation hospitals which provide preventions, medical treatment, health care and healing services. The second-class hospitals are regional hospitals which provide comprehensive health services. The three-class hospitals mainly provide high professional and specialized medical treatments and health services. Most of the hospitals are funded by the government and are non-profit institutions. A small number of hospitals and clinics are organized by the collective and individuals. Besides, some hospitals are set up for foreigners. Foreigners can go to see doctors at any medical institutions, and enjoy the same cost standard as the Chinese residents. Generally speaking, the charges of these hospitals with better conditions are much higher.

Emergencies: Almost all hospitals have emergency rooms to provide emergency assistance to needy patients. When foreigners need emergency ambulance, the hospitals can pay medical costs for the foreigners in advance and provide emergency treatment and medical rescue, escort abroad and other foreign medical services. There are "120" in many cities to give first-aid emergently. You may call "120" to request first-aid while coming across an emergency.

 To keep healthy when traveling in China

1. Foreign visitors should check at home what vaccinations are required or recommended.Your doctor may also be able to provide you with up-to-date information on the status of disease outbreaks in China. Most national governments also run travel advisory websites through their State or Foreign Affairs Departments.

2. Water is easily available in China, but drink bottled, not tap water wherever you go, including in hotels or on the train. Drinking water is available at restaurants and hotels. Very few cities, like Hong Kong and Guilin, have public direct drinking water system available. Bottled water can be bought anywhere at the station stalls and supermarkets.

3. In case of accident, most major cities will have a hospital with an accident and emergency ward, however, in more rural districts the nearest hospital may be a distance away so your best bet would be to call an ambulance. Outside of hours try a local hospital or in emergencies. Dial 120 for an ambulance which is a free call from any telephone.

4. Clinics equipped with simple and general medical facilities are available in star-rated hotels, star-rated cruise ships and most of scenic spots in the city. For unexpected injuries or minor ailments, you can get first aid there.


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