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China to Train More Pediatricians in the Time of Two-child Policy
   2016-02-25 07:10:47    CRIENGLISH.com      Web Editor: Wang Kun

A photo shows a waiting room in a hospital is full of kids waiting to be treated in northwest China's Xi'an city. [Photo: hsw.cn]

As China's Two Child Policy begins to kick in, health officials here are saying the country is facing an increasing shortfall of pediatricians.

Already under strain from a shortage of trained doctors, measures are being put in place to bring more pediatricians into the system, and soon, as CRI's Huang Shan reports.

 

Statistics from the National health and family planning commission show that currently there is only one pediatrician for every two-thousand children in China.

The shortage has made things difficult for parents.

One father of a two-year-old boy says when he brought his son, suffering from a fever to the Capital Children's Research Institute, they waited nearly all night, and even then failed to receive emergency care.

This experience is sadly not unusual. The country's over thirty-thousand health institutions with pediatric departments, receive 471 million outpatient visits annually, and can only provide care to around 22 million inpatients on average.

Jiao Yahui, a senior official with China's health commission, said the shortage of pediatricians is severe.

"The total population of children aged between zero to fourteen has now reached 230 million in China, but we have just 118,000 professional pediatricians across the country. This figure in per capita terms has remained far lower than other major developed countries. The number of pediatric medical personnel is far from being enough."

Chen Xiao, a senior pediatrician with over 30 years experience, says low salaries, the pressure of work, and the high risks involved are the main causes behind people's reluctance to become pediatricians.

"We usually see one outpatient every five minutes, which means we even don't have time to drink water or go to the toilet. Moreover, we have to work for more than 12 hours. Though characterized by acute onset, rapid progression, and high risk, children's diseases are diagnosed completely through doctors' observations. Therefore, pediatricians are facing greater pressures and risks than doctors treating adults."

Also - a decrease in the number of pediatric graduates has also fueled the shortage.

In response, Jin Shengguo, from the National Health and Family Planning Commission, outlined the country's plans to fill this gap.

"To ease the shortfall, China will enhance the training of pediatric resident doctors, train doctors who shift to pediatric care, and provide bespoke courses."

In addition, the nation's top 38 medical schools will enroll more students on post-graduate pediatric courses, and have at least one higher learning institute in each region offering undergraduate pediatric courses.

Jin Shengguo stressed that China will strive to increase the number of pediatricians to 140,000, representing 0.6 pediatricians for every 1,000 children, by the year 2020.

For CRI, this is Huang Shan.

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