China improves service capacity of rural, community-level hospitals as Spring Festival draws near

Xinhua, January 16, 2023
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BEIJING, Jan. 15 (Xinhua) -- China is ramping up the service capacity of community-level and rural medical institutions to tackle the COVID-19 epidemic control challenges brought by the upcoming Spring Festival holiday, a Chinese health official said.

According to Jiao Yahui, an official with the National Health Commission, these medical institutions are taking multiple measures to augment their workforce and stock up on medicines.

Health authorities are assisting the medical institutions in better equipping themselves, Jiao said. She noted that 1.17 million finger pulse oximeters were distributed to village clinics across the country.

Jiao noted that third-grade hospitals in urban areas were directed to establish 24-hour telemedicine service connection with county hospitals. They were also demanded to dispatch personnel to county hospitals to assist them during special periods, including the Spring Festival holiday, she said.

Third-grade hospitals rank at the top of China's three-tier hospital grading system. They have the most hospital beds and provide comprehensive medical services.

A medical transfer mechanism has also been established so that patients with severe symptoms in rural areas can be transferred to urban medical institutions in time, she added.

China's Spring Festival travel rush kicked off on Jan. 7 this year after the country adjusted its COVID-19 response. Spring Festival, or the Chinese Lunar New Year, falls on Jan. 22 this year.  ■