Opinion / Opinion Line

Lack of doctors harms children's right to health

(China Daily) Updated: 2016-02-05 08:06

Lack of doctors harms children's right to health

Obstetric nurses in the Central Hospital of Enshi, Hubei province, take care of newborns at the hospital. [Photo/China Daily]

Many Chinese hospitals have closed their pediatric clinics recently, because of the shortage of pediatricians in China. New Express Daily says greater efforts are needed to protect the rights of children:

The number of pediatricians in China has dropped from 105,000 to around 100,000 within five years, according to official data. On average, there are only 43 doctors per 100,000 children. In the US, there are 146 doctors per 100,000 children.

Low salaries, high pressure and high risk are the main reasons for people's reluctance to become pediatricians. Even if a child is given proper treatment conflicts can still arise. Many children are too young to give precise descriptions of their symptoms but parents still have high expectations of the doctors.

On the other hand, it is normal for 10 to 15 children to use roughly the same amount of medicines as one adult. In China, medicines and examinations are the primary sources of revenue for a medical department and since children are prescribed less medicine than adults, less revenue is generated from the pediatric clinics.

The overlooking of children's rights is not only reflected in the lack of doctors but also in other medical areas. China has signed the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child but in medicine, education and other fields related to their basic rights, children often face a harsher reality. How to narrow the gap between the ideal and the reality deserves more thought.

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