Opinion: Why is China's Medical Workers' Day important?

BY CGTNAug 20,2018 at 11:40

Editor's note:

Medical workers should uphold the humanitarian spirit to save lives and dedicate themselves to promoting public health. That's the word from Chinese President Xi Jinping. Because of the important work that they do, medical workers have been strikingly respected all across the world.

China marked its first Medical Workers' Day on August 19, 2018. President Xi called on Friday for greater understanding for medical workers to help create an atmosphere that respects and supports doctors.

Xi said that medical workers play an important role in areas such as preventing and treating diseases, cultivating medical talent and developing medical technology, and fruitful results have been achieved.

However, how to improve the circumstances of these workers is a complicated topic. Dr Long Xiao, an orthopedic surgeon at Peking Union Medical College Hospital, pointed out that a shortage of medical workers is a salient issue.

“There are about 11 million doctors in China and they need to take care of patients from all over the country, which means each doctor should look after 400 to 500 patients on average. It is really a tough work,” said Long.

China's first Medical Workers' Day was on August 19, 2018. /VCG Photo

According to the statistics published by theChinese Medical Doctor Association, the average annual income for amale medical doctor in China is about 78,000 yuan, and for females about 73,000 yuan.

The figure is almost the same as the annual average income of employed persons in non-private units in cities and towns across the country. Given Chinese medical workers have to work around 51 hours a week, well beyond the standard working time of 40 hours, their pay is relatively low.

“So, President Xi is calling for the society to respect the doctors' hard work and their devotion that keep people healthy in the country,” said Long.

The US has been celebrating Doctors' Day on March 30 each year since 1933 to honor their hard work and devotion. Now that China has its own Medical Workers' Day, the question is how to get more people to take up the profession.

Long says medical educationin China costs much less than the US. The government in Beijing has already done a lot to secure more entrants to the profession. For example, it has established a nationwide license-training program.

"I think that could help standardize the medical care service in the country," said Long. "It's one of the meanings of the national Doctors' Day since not only it shows respect for the current doctors but also it's a way to encourage the next generation.”

Besides, it is necessary to encourage high school graduates to choose medicine as a career. In this way, an increasing number of medical workers with superb medical skills can be guaranteed to take care of people’s health and realize the goal of Healthy China 2020.


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