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China to set up clinics in every village within 3 years

CHINA will set up at least one clinic in every village within three years to improve the health care at grassroots level, according to an implementation plan for medical reform released by the State Council in Beijing today.

The government will also support the construction of 2,000 hospitals at the county level to guarantee that each county has a hospital that meets the national standard, the three-year plan (2009-2011) said, adding that more township hospitals and clinics will be built or expanded in 2009.

The country will build or renovate 3,700 community clinics and 11,000 health service centers in urban areas within three years. The central government will also build 2,400 such centers in underdeveloped urban areas during the same period.

In spite of the country's economic progress, the development of health care services in rural areas has lagged behind because most medical facilities and doctors are in cities, the plan said.

Poorly-equipped rural clinics and a shortage of medical staff have restricted the quality and availability of health care for rural residents. Some are even impoverished because of the huge cost of medical treatment and the transportation fees they have to pay traveling from their homes to cities, according to the plan.


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