TCM specialists relieve pressure in rural community clinics

Wan Tingting
Top traditional Chinese medics from public hospitals are helping train more doctors in community health centers, relieving the serious shortage of TCM doctors in rural areas.
Wan Tingting

Top traditional Chinese medics from public hospitals are helping train more doctors in community clinics, relieving the serious shortage of TCM doctors in Fengxian's rural areas.

Dr Li Qizhong, from the leading Shuguang Traditional Chinese Medicine Hospital, visited clinics in community service centers once a week, and his two apprentices, general physicians in Fengxian, conducted clinical practice during the remaining days.

This three-year experimental teaching project greatly improved the general physicians’ abilities in TCM theory and clinical practice, Xie Xingqian, the deputy director of Fengxian District Health and Family Planning Commission said.

Fengxian, located in the southern suburbs of Shanghai, lacks TCM doctors, especially general physicians with skills in community health service centers.

But 80 percent of patients have demands for TCM in the treatment of diseases like chronic arthritis, lumbar vertebrae disease and shoulder problems. 

People in Fengxian choose TCM therapy more because of the relatively low cost and the benefits for the mind as well as the body. “Traditional Chinese medicine clinics receive their highest concentration of patients from rural places,” Xie Xinqian said.

One TCM-skilled GP, Yang Hongxin from Qixian community service center, who can handle acupuncture, massage and orthopedics treatments, sees around 100 patients per day, one third of all outpatients at the center, Xie Xingqian added.

They have gradually built up a simple but effective system that combines education and evaluation, developing TCM talent that gives family doctors the skills necessary to serve the public using traditional techniques.

Xie says the next step is to work on affiliations and talent exchange between Shanghai University of Traditional Chinese Medicine and four more community health service centers in Fengxian.

Special Reports
Top