Progress in Tibet's Health Care

Updated: 2011-11-16 17:16

Progress in Tibet's Health Care


Head of the Department of Public Health of the Tibetan Autonomous Region

In old Tibet, there were few medical and health systems. There were only three small public institutes of Tibetan Traditional Medicine with extreme backward equipment, a few private clinics with no bed, and less than 100 employees. After peaceful liberation of Tibet, its medical and public health systems have developed continuously. Health of people of various ethnic groups in Tibet is greatly improved. Their per-capita life expectancy has increased from 35.5 years in early stage of peaceful liberation to 67 years now. Its population also has increased from 1 million to 3.002 million.

I. Medical and health service network covers the whole region

The Central Government and the Tibet Autonomous Region government attach great importance to the development of medical and public health networks and have established and improved basic medical system in Tibet. The autonomous region established county-level medical and health organizations in the 1960s, disease prevention and control organizations in the 1970s, maternal and child care centers (stations) in the 1980s and town-level health centers, county-level health stations and county-level maternal and child care centers in farming and pasturing areas in the 1990s. In the new century, health supervision stations and blood banks were established. So far, a medical and health service network covering the urban and rural areas of Tibet has been established. By 2010, Tibet has 1,352 medical and health organizations with 12,269 employees, up 450-fold and 123-fold respectively compared with the early stage of peaceful liberation.

II. People enjoy free medical services

The Central Government has offered free medical services for farmers and herdsmen in Tibet. In 2003, the Tibet Autonomous Region government issued Provisional Measures of Tibet Autonomous Region on Medical Service Management in Farming and Pasturing Areas and established the medical system in farming and pasturing areas featuring free medical services. The Central Government also has gradually raised the subsidy standards of free medical services. In 2011, the subsidy has reached to 260 yuan per person. The reimbursement quota of hospitalization expenditures is no less than 50,000 yuan. In addition, the autonomous region government also has salvation for impoverished farmers and herdsmen in medical treatment with the salvation fund up to 60,000 yuan. It also arranged special fund for the supplemental insurance of grave diseases with insurance claim amounting up to 70,000 yuan.

III. Epidemics and endemic diseases have been effectively controlled

Before peaceful liberation, various epidemics and endemic diseases seriously threatened the health and life of people of various ethnic groups in Tibet. After 60 years of efforts, the autonomous region has established 81 disease prevention and control centers and the grave diseases that seriously threatened people's health such as plague, tuberculosis and leprosy, and endemic diseases such as iodine deficiency disorders and Kaschin-Beck disease have been effectively controlled. A long-term mechanism for emergent public health incidents and grave epidemic prevention and control has been established in Tibet and epidemic information can be directly reported to district and region (city)-level health departments via the Internet. The autonomous region's capacity of dealing with emergent public health incidents and epidemics has been constantly improved. The occurrence of epidemics and mortality has been reduced greatly compared with the time before peaceful liberation.

IV. Health care level for women and children has been greatly improved

The Central Government and the Tibet Autonomous Region government attach great importance to the health care work for women and children and have established the health care system for women and children. Currently, the autonomous region has 57 maternal and children care centers (stations) and eight infant hospitals. 108 hospitals above the county level and 110 towns have departments of gynecology and obstetrics and departments of maternal and child health care. Efforts were made to energetically publicize the work of health care for women and children. Through the work of hospital delivery, new method of midwifery, treatment of common diseases of women and children, diseases that seriously threaten women and children's health have been timely discovered and treated. Especially in recent years, through launching the project of reducing maternal mortality and eliminating neonatal tetanus, awarding and subsidizing farmers and herdsmen for hospital delivery and government purchase of commercial insurances for pregnant and lying-in women and neonates, the autonomous region pragmatically protects the health of women and children. The mortality rates of pregnant and lying-in women and neonates are 0..35% and 0.48% respectively of the figures from the time shortly after the peaceful liberation.

V. Tibetan Traditional Medicine maintains constant development on the basis of being protected and inherited

An important component of traditional culture of the Tibetan people, the Tibetan Traditional Medicine has a history of more than 2,300 years with abundant clinic experience and a complete theoretical system.

With energetic supports from the Central Government, health departments of various levels in Tibet regard inheritance and development of the Tibetan Traditional Medicine as one of the important tasks and have established and improved organizations and personnel to strengthen talent trainings and scientific research. By the end of 2010, a Tibetan medical service network led by the Tibetan Traditional Medicine Hospital of the Tibet Autonomous Region had been basically completed. Tibet now has 28 Tibetan Traditional Medicine hospitals. More than 50 counties have Tibetan Traditional Medicine departments or professionals of Tibetan Traditional Medicine in the county-level medical service centers. The autonomous region has 860 beds for Tibetan medical treatment, 1,536 technicians of Tibetan Traditional Medicine and nearly 300 folk doctors of Tibetan Traditional Medicine. Medical organizations of Tibetan Traditional Medicine give full play to their unique advantages by strengthening special diseases treatment and specialty construction, achieving prominent results.

The Tibetan Traditional Medicine College was established in 1989, putting the traditional education mode of Tibetan Traditional Medicine on the track of modern higher education of medicine. It has trained more than 2,700 professionals of Tibetan Tradition Medicine for the whole country. Currently, a total of 1,630 students are studying in the college. The Institute of Tibetan Traditional Medicine Studies of Tibetan Autonomous Region and Tibetan Traditional Medicine organizations of various levels actively launch scientific researches on Tibetan Traditional Medicine, select the classical prescriptions and experience-based prescriptions of Tibetan Traditional Medicine and improve the pill shape of Tibetan Traditional Medicine with modern technologies. Tibetan Traditional Medicine has sound effect in treating liver disease, stomach and intestine diseases, dermatological diseases and gynecological diseases. At the same time, a batch of works with high academic value such as Chinese Medical Encyclopedia - Tibet Volume, Encyclopedia of Tibetan Astronomical Almanac, Amrita of Materia Medicine, Four Canons of Medicine and 80 Color Thangka Wall Illustrations of Four Canons of Medicine have been published. Led by the Tibetan Traditional Medicine Hospital of Tibet Autonomous Region, all the Tibetan Traditional Medicine hospitals above the municipal-level have offices of astronomical almanac studies to calculate Tibetan calendar according to the theory of Tibetan astronomical almanac, serving the people's daily life and farming and pasturing production of the surrounding countries and regions. Tibetan Traditional Medicine production has changed from manual workshop to modern industrialized production with standardized, extensive and scientific management. A total of 18 Tibetan Traditional Medicine producing enterprises have gained GMP certificates and they can produce more than 360 types of patent medicines with annual production value exceeding 700 million yuan.

With the constant development of Tibetan Traditional Medicine, its foreign exchange and cooperation keep expanding. In recent years, an increasing number of domestic and foreign experts come to Tibet to investigate and learn more about Tibetan Traditional Medicine. Experts of Tibetan Traditional Medicine in Tibet are also invited to give lectures and conduct academic exchanges. The Tibetan Traditional Medicine Hospital of Tibet Autonomous Region also has cooperation with international organizations in areas such as ophthalmology and gynecology, achieving sound effects. In 2000, the International Academic Conference on Tibetan Traditional Medicine was held in Lhasa, further enhancing the influence of Tibetan Traditional Medicine at home and abroad.

Developing medical cause to improve the health of the whole nation is the necessary requirement of building a well-off society. In the next step, we will actively explore the health development. suitable for the reality of Tibet on the basis of the current development so as to provide safe, effective and convenient public health and basic medical services for people of various ethnic groups in Tibet.
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