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March 27, 2010

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Upgrading medical services

AS a medical scientist who has worked in Shanghai for more than 60 years, I was overjoyed to that Shanghai was chosen to host World Expo 2010.

I came to Shanghai in 1946 when the Medical School of Tongji University was moved back to the city and have worked at the No. 2 Military Medical University (the former Medical University of East China) since my graduation in 1949. Over these past 60 years and during the recent two decades in particular, great changes have taken place in Shanghai. It is by no means an exaggeration to say that change has literally occurred overnight. The Wujiaochang neighborhood in Jiangwan area where I have worked and lived all these years used to be an outlaying suburb with an unappealing look, and poor shopping and transport facilities. Today, however, it thrives as a downtown district easy to access, with modern buildings towering all flourishing businesses below. More importantly, local universities such as Fudan, Tongji and the No. 2 Military Medical University have witnessed constant growth in their sizes, continuous improvement in their campus facilities and new heights in research and teaching. As a veteran medical worker, I am thrilled by this progress of medical services in Shanghai. The Eastern Hepatobiliary Hospital, for example, is a national leader in terms of equipment and professionalism, a distinction it holds among many doctors worldwide.

Shanghai is to host the World Expo. This will be a rare opportunity, as I see it, because it will help Shanghai further improve its level of urban development. In daily life here in this municipality, rude and unsanitary manners are still common. It is a frequent scene, for instance, to see people smoking by the entrances of hospital, ignoring the sensitivities of patients, staff and visitors, and littering the group with cigarette butts. Street hawkers set up stalls randomly along adjacent streets, sometimes cheating patients and disturbing the normal functioning of hospitals. Serious traffic jams due to belated development of roads still persist, and there are huge gaps in reforestation, environment beautification and sanitation standards between the city and developed metropolitan areas overseas. To greet the coming World Expo, local government departments and volunteers have been devoting vigorous efforts to rectifying urban problems and cleaning up the environment. As a result, the city appearance has improved. I hope these changes will have lasting effects and become a permanent part of the municipal government's efforts to make city life more attractive for all.

The coming World Expo 2010 Shanghai China will showcase achievements in science and technology °?°?°?-- including medical science and technology °?-- and will highlight lifestyles from across the world filled with distinctive local charm and embodying some of the modern ideals of environmental protection. I am looking forward to feasting my eyes on this great exposition. I believe these fruits of beauty and wisdom will evoke our best dreams for the future and will encourage us to strive to achieve "ideal cities" as early as possible.

One crucial issue for improving life is medical services. Although Shanghai's medical services have been progressing rapidly in recent years, we cannot ignore the conspicuous problem that separates medical care from those who can't afford them. How can we solve this problem? Many patients complain about the difficulty of making appointments with specialists. As one solution, we might create a nonprofit system for improving the appointment process to relieve the burden placed on patients. As another possibility, we should standardize procedures of diagnosis to remove the problem of some hospitals overcharging patients for services they don't really need. It is also necessary to popularize public knowledge about medicine and step up effective supervision and administration of the health system. Greater investment in the public health sector is indispensable if sound development is to occur. The medical reform program unveiled this year has defined the direction of this reform. I hope the measures proposed will be implemented as soon as possible so that public hospitals will truly deserve their title as honorable servants of the people.

The World Expo is not just a showcase of civilization. More importantly, it is a driving force advancing the progress of civilization. I sincerely wish the coming World Expo a great success.


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