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Hunan doctor honored for devotion to rural patients

By Feng Zhiwei in Changsha and Jiang Chenglong in Beijing | | Updated: 2017-10-17 19:43

Tian Rui has spent almost 25 years helping villagers in Hunan province stay healthy by providing vital primary medical care.

The 47-year-old doctor began her career in 1992 after a trip to Mafu village with her boyfriend during the Chinese New Year holiday.

While there, a neighbor's child, who suffered vomiting and diarrhea, died due to lack of treatment, as there was no medical clinic nearby.

"My boyfriend and I decided to set up a clinic after graduation to provide timely treatment for villagers," she said.

The couple spent more than 8,000 yuan ($1,209)on basic medical equipment and drugs, and set up a two-room health center in Mafu, which consists of 10 communities in Baojing county separated by hills without any interconnecting infrastructure.

Tian is always on call and travels to villagers' homes as soon as possible, regardless of the weather. She has treated thousands of patients and has won their trust by making countless visits, and offering evening services and free clinics.

In 2010, she was appointed director of the Angdong Hospital Project. "There was an old dilapidated house occupying less than 400 square meters, with only four available beds," she said. "We finally managed to rebuild it with financial aid from an NGO in Hong Kong and the local government."

The new building was constructed on the same spot and benefits from a unique design based on local Tujia-style architecture, which saved space and brought in lots of natural light.

The structure was shortlisted for an international award from the Royal Institute of British Architects last year.

Tian thinks health is more important than whether people can afford it. She gives every villager a handbook with her contact details, delivers medical lectures, and provides free health checks.

The dedicated doctor has received an award for her work, and was this year elected as a delegate to the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China, which opens on Wednesday.

"I'm doing a meaningful thing, which I love, and I think my life is pretty valuable and perfect," she said.


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