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Village doctor sets an example of a healthy attitude

Xinhua | Updated: 2023-02-21 09:02
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Xu Qiusheng, 81, often looks out of the window of his clinic when he is not with a patient, as he feels relief when looking up at the luxuriant branches and foliage of an old camphor tree that stays green all year round.

Over half a century has passed since Xu graduated from medical school and started work as a village doctor in Yangfang village, Fengcheng city, in East China's Jiangxi province.

"Three generations of my family, my parents, and my grandchildren all come to Uncle Xu for treatment," says Chen Donggen, who took his feverish granddaughter to Xu's clinic.

After briefly inquiring about the little girl's condition, Xu took out a very thin needle from a wooden medical kit, and gently inserted the needle into the skin of both her hands and head.

The treatment, acupuncture, is the most commonly used way to treat pain in traditional Chinese medicine.

Xu has used the set of silver needles for decades to help villagers relieve discomfort from ailments such as joint pains, frozen shoulders, and headaches.

"Uncle Xu is the one who can set our minds at ease in the village," Chen adds.

Dubbed "guardians of health", village doctors like Xu who work at grassroots medical institutions have played an important role in treating hundreds of millions of farmers in rural areas.

They always keep a busy schedule — offering outpatient services during the day and dealing with emergency cases now and then in the evening, staying on call around the clock for patients.

Xu says that treatment and medicine are usually free of charge for villagers facing financial difficulties, and he keeps the bills of his patients in an accounting book, as he allows credit.

Despite living a frugal life himself, he never asks for the medical expenses owed by villagers.

Xu also maintains regular contact with high-risk people in the village to keep abreast of their health conditions.

Ahead of this year's Spring Festival, Xu, together with his daughter, who returned to the village and followed in his footsteps of becoming a village doctor, went door to door visiting the elderly.

Xu's daughter helped them measure their blood pressure and blood oxygen. The health of more than 1,400 villagers in Yangfang has become the responsibility for rural doctors like Xu and his daughter.

The clinic receives, at most, 30 patients a day, and doctors will deliver medicines to villagers' doors. Early this year, the village smoothly passed its peak COVID-19 infection rate.

Xu is also delighted to see his grandson take up the baton and begin his career as a doctor after graduation.

"I see my patients as my family members, and I hope the next generations of doctors in rural areas can continue to be the guardians of villagers," Xu says.

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