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Experts suggest ways to improve child health services

By Liu Zhihua ( China Daily ) Updated: 2013-11-13 07:20:02

Experts suggest ways to improve child health services

The number of patients many big hospitals, such as Beijing Children's Hospital, receive every day is usually several times above their capacity. [Photo by Wang Jing / China Daily]

Experts suggest ways to improve child health services

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Chinese parents like to rush to big general and specialist hospitals whenever their children feel uncomfortable, regardless of the seriousness of the ailment.

Their action results in bad experiences for both doctors and patients, and experts are calling for joint efforts by health authorities, hospitals and patients to improve the situation.

In Europe, a generalized model of child health services includes lots of primary care, plenty of general hospitals, and fewer specialist hospitals.

Ingrid Wolfe, with Evelina London Children's Hospital and London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, says such a system works because children in Europe, just like in China, are experiencing an epidemiological shift from communicable to non-communicable diseases, and deaths in children under 14 are declining substantially.

"Primary care should be the core of child health system," Wolfe says.

In China, the government has been strengthening community-based primary care, such as introducing general practitioners and cutting down medicine prices.

But most community hospitals only provide everyday healthcare to young patients, such as vaccination, and cannot or are not allowed to treat diseases, according to Zhang Lina, a health adviser with Shichahai Community Health Center, a community hospital in Beijing.

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