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Childcare calls for greater inputs into pediatrics

China Daily | Updated: 2023-11-28 08:40
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Children and parents wait in the pediatrics department at Guang'anmen Hospital in Beijing on Sunday. [Photo by Du Lianyi/China Daily]

Surveillance reports released by the Chinese National Influenza Center indicate that over the past few weeks, the positive rates of influenza virus tests in the country have been increasing continuously.

Last week, the National Health Commission urged relevant localities to strengthen overall planning and implement a hierarchical diagnosis and treatment system.

It is recommended that children with mild symptoms of a respiratory system infection or pneumonia first go to grassroots clinics at the community level for treatment to reduce the burden on major hospitals. Parents should be wary of the high risk of cross infections at hospitals that are currently extremely busy.

That it takes more than 24 hours to see a pediatrician after registration in a hospital in some cities should prompt the central authorities to increase their input to pediatric departments. Against the background of the slowdown in birthrate in recent years, the shortage of pediatric medical resources across the country is easily overlooked.

Because of the heavy workload and comparatively lower status of pediatricians in the hierarchical system of medical workers in the country, in which oncologists, orthopedists, cardiologists, ophthalmologists and stomatologists are generally held in higher regard, few medical students would like to major in pediatrics at university.

The shortage of pediatricians coexists with the reluctance of hospitals to invest in pediatric departments as they don't think the pediatric departments can help increase their overall revenue.

Compared with adults, children have weaker resistance to disease and are more likely to need intensive medical treatment during infectious disease seasons. Pediatric medical resources should have redundancy and be dynamically adjusted in real time.

The government therefore needs to increase its subsidies to hospitals so they can expand their pediatric departments. Basic pediatric medical services should be regarded as a necessary public good.

Increasing the supply of medical resources for children should undoubtedly be an integral part of the government's efforts to encourage childbirth and ease childcare burdens.

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