"Village doctors, safeguarding the health of rural residents, are playing a key role in the healthcare of vast rural areas, and their benefits need to be addressed," said lawmaker Liu Guifang.
BEIJING, March 8 (Xinhua) -- Lawmaker Liu Guifang visited dozens of villages, conducting in-depth research on village doctors, before heading to Beijing for the annual session of the national legislature.
In her proposal, she suggested establishing a financial guarantee for rural doctors' basic salaries.
"Village doctors, safeguarding the health of rural residents, are playing a key role in the healthcare of vast rural areas, and their benefits need to be addressed," said Liu, 51.
From the rural area of north China's Hebei Province, Liu is a village doctor herself. Over the past 35 years, she has not only provided clinic services for villagers but created a facility combining medical treatment and elderly care.
By February 2020, China had 1.44 million rural doctors to protect the health of rural residents, according to official data. They serve China's rural population of 551.62 million.
At the ongoing fourth session of the 13th National People's Congress (NPC), the country's top legislature, the Chinese leadership stressed giving "strategic priority" to safeguarding people's health.
Lawmakers have also highlighted the significant role of village doctors and pooled wisdom on public health at the session.
Xiong Sidong, president of Soochow University and a national lawmaker, said rural doctors should be selected for training in hospitals at or above the county level.
Also, more medical students should be guided to take internships in rural areas. It will strengthen the exchange between urban and rural medical systems, Xiong added.
"In rural areas, many people, especially the elderly, have difficulties like frequent and inconvenient medical visits. It makes the need for rural doctors considerably more urgent," said Hou Erhe, a village cadre and a deputy to the NPC.
China will strengthen the ranks of general practitioners and rural doctors and improve the capacity of medical services at the county level, said a government work report, unveiled during the ongoing legislative session.
"Plans and measures are in place, showing that China attaches increasing importance to rural medical services. Medical treatment conditions and environments have greatly improved," Hou said.
Zhang Jing, president of Tangshan People's Hospital and a national lawmaker, called for popularizing telemedicine services from provincial to town level, based on improving rural grassroots healthcare.
She said big-data development and telemedicine would be the new growth drivers for innovative rural medical services with high efficiency, convenience, and considerable resources shared in the information age.
"We will explore innovation and telemedicine-skills mechanisms and build a long-term, continuous expert team for grassroots rural healthcare," said Zhang.