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Schools to teach more about TCM

By Shan Juan | China Daily Africa | Updated: 2017-03-10 07:35
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China will promote traditional Chinese medicine's culture and skills in primary and middle schools to help preserve knowledge of the ancient medical treatments, the country's top TCM chief said on March 2.

Wang Guoqiang, head of the State Administration of Traditional Chinese Medicine and a member of the 12th National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Congress, spoke to China Daily on the sidelines of the body's annual meeting.

"It should be a bottom-up approach, like we've already seen with schools adding TCM courses for students. We are working closely with the education authorities on preparatory work like course design, setting training targets and teaching methods," says Wang, who also serves as deputy director of the National Health and Family Planning Commission.

The initiative would help enhance their health awareness and ability to lead a healthy lifestyle, he says.

It also would "help with the nation's long-term strategy to train more quality TCM talent", he says, adding that the supply of practitioners is falling short of the demand.

Wang Jie, president of Guang'anmen Hospital, which specializes in TCM, says that while the hospital has millions of patient visits a year, "we only have several hundred doctors, and they are very overworked".

The hospital is one of the top TCM institutions in Beijing, Wang said he would be happy to see more young people interested in TCM studies and medical careers.

Wang Guoqiang urged TCM and education experts to work together to come up with an approach that is appealing to students.

He suggested activities like lectures and a chance to experience TCM techniques, such as massage and acupuncture. "Young students are the future of TCM," he says.

While he didn't set a timetable for the initiative, some campuses are already doing pioneering work in the field.

At Dafangjia Kindergarten in Beijing's Dongcheng district, TCM-related exercises are being done, Wang Guoqiang says.

After more than a month, the effort is paying off, he says, with the student attendance rate increasing by 10 percent. It will have long-range benefits in the prevention of disease and maintenance of health, he adds.

He says that China will open more TCM-themed Confucius institutes or classes overseas to better promote TCM abroad. There are now four such institutes, and they have been well-received by local people, he says.

(China Daily Africa Weekly 03/10/2017 page15)

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