China to create more medical centers to further ease nationwide access
China will set more national and regional medical centers to alleviate the uneven distribution of medical resources, as well as improve its disease control system to better fend off threats of contagious diseases, health officials said on Friday.
Xu Shuqiang, head of the National Health Commission's Department of Healthcare Reform, said that, in recent years, the country has established 10 national-level medical centers that are devoted to leading treatments of a specific medical field and helping to nurture skilled professionals, and 50 regional medical centers, referring to those that are located in relatively developed regions and are required to channel resources to less developed regions.
Another 15,000 medical partnerships between top-tier hospitals in large cities and grassroots medical facilities have been established, he said.
"The problem of having difficulty in accessing quality medical care has been effectively eased," he said.
Sun Zhicheng, deputy director of the National Development and Reform Commission's Department of Social Development, said that overall planning of national-level medical centers will be finished in five years and the remaining 11 provinces that have not been covered by regional medical centers will be equipped with such resources by the end of this year.
The COVID-19 pandemic has also prompted efforts to improve the country's disease control system, bolstered by the newly-established National Administration of Disease Prevention and Control, according to Xu.
A focus would be to ramp up disease control capabilities of primary healthcare facilities and providing more training for grassroots medical workers, he said.
Public hospitals will be guided to set up departments devoted to public health or disease control work, and local disease control officials will strengthen supervision over hospitals' disease control preparedness, he added.