China faces critical pediatrician shortage

By Zhao Chenyan (
Updated: 2011-02-17 16:09
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China has a critical shortage of 200,000 pediatricians after 12 years of insufficient training for doctors, the Beijing Times report on Thursday.

Statistics show the number of pediatric doctors in China increased by only 5,000 in the past 15 years, and the current number of pediatric hospitals accounted for only 0.52 percent of total hospitals in China.

The great gap highlights three major pitfalls in children's medical services: shortage of pediatric medical personnel, the absence of relevant planning and lack of government investment, the Beijing Times said in its report.

China stopped pediatrics as an undergraduate major in 1999, which cut off a stable source of medics for the specialist field, said Zhu Zonghan, Chairman of China Pediatric Association.

Zhu said China has only 60 pediatric hospitals for training pediatricians at present, but due to being burdened with too many patients, each hospital can train about 30 pediatric doctors every year which is far below the national need.

Despite pediatric health care resources already being stretched, the country still has no overall planning and long-term goals for its development, Zhu claimed.

What's more, the lack of government investment has already hindered the development of pediatrics, Zhu added.

He suggests China should list pediatric development in public health services in the country's 12th Five-Year Plan and actively establish more children's hospitals all over the country.