Living Revolution | Medicine and Public Health

Medical Workers Serve the Peasants

- China Pictorial Jan. 1966, p.2

Since the spring of 1965, Chinese medical circles have been enthusiastically expanding a movement for "going to the countryside". Thousands upon thousands of medical personnel, including many specialists and professors, have formed mobile teams to serve the peasants. Hospitals in cities and towns send out doctors and nurses together with equipment to organize "mobile hospitals" for treatment of more complicated cases. These hospitals in turn send out doctors to tour the vicinity. Arrangements are made between hospitals in small towns and those in Peking, Shanghai and other cities for treatment of patients, prevention of disease and promotion of public health.

Since the founding of New China 16 years ago, health services have expanded rapidly in rural areas. Every county now has a medium-sized general hospital, while all the communes and some of the production brigades have clinics. With the unfolding of the mass patriotic movement for health and sanitation, the country people are paying more attention to tidiness and cleanliness. Smallpox, the plague, kala-azar and venereal diseases have been wiped out in the main, while schistosomiasis and malaria not only have been brought under control but the areas in which they occur have been diminished. The incidence of other diseases also has been greatly reduced.

However, since few medical facilities existed in the countryside in old China, everything had to be done from the very beginning. Moreover, with villages scattered and often far apart, needs could not be fully met in a short time. Out-of-the-way villages still lack medical facilities.

Medical personnel actively join the mobile teams and "mobile hospitals" out of a sincere desire to promote medical work in the countryside and to improve public health conditions. They are at one with the peasant masses, ready to defy hardships and difficulties. They give medical treatment, popularize knowledge of hygiene, work together with the masses to improve sanitary conditions, take measures to prevent disease and train village doctors and nurses. This class feeling of theirs towards the peasants wins them a ready welcome and full confidence.

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