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China to Build Leprosy Hospitals in NW Province

China planned to build two specialized leprosy hospitals in northwestern Qinghai Province, where the disease formerly prevailed, local health authorities said on Sunday.

The hospitals, which would cost 4.8 million yuan (about US$677,000), would improve medical services to leprosy patients, according to an official with the Qinghai Provincial Development and Reform Commission.

The hospitals would open this year.

The Yushu and Huangnan Tibetan Autonomous Prefectures, where the hospitals would be located, were once leprosy-prone areas.

Qinghai reported a leprosy incidence rate of 0.56 per 100,000 persons in 2005, 83 percent down from 1955, as a result of eradication efforts.

(Xinhua News Agency March 18, 2008)

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