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Medical Volunteers Head to Sichuan

Thirty more medical volunteers organized by the China International Federation of Charity (CIFC) will leave for Tibetan-inhabited areas of southwest China's Sichuan Province this month.

The volunteers -- Americans, Japanese and locals -- will stay for a month.

They will offer free medical advice and treatment, Wen Yin, CIFC's executive president, said.

They will help set up more village clinics with equipment mainly donated by United States and Japan.

A Japanese medical institute and the Luoyang Municipal Children's Health Recovery Center of Henan Province will help train village health instructors. The Luoyang Center will also offer free medical treatment for disabled children in the Ganzi Tibetan autonomous prefecture.

Due to their traditional habits and poor living environment most local Tibetans lack health awareness.

"Many Tibetans are suffering from heart diseases, tuberculosis, hepatitis, niphablepsia, arthritis, premature senility and rheumatism," Liu Zhaoqiang, the vice secretary-general of the Shandong Traditional Chinese Medicine Association, said.

In May last year, the first volunteer group made up of 22 members from China and Japan received a warm welcome by the local Tibetans, Wen said.

They set up a small medical salvation base at Ganzi. The base runs a "family health enhancing project", and has helped the local government to establish homes for orphans and the elderly.

Families are taught such things as maternal-infant nursing, sex education for teenagers and anti-aging and health protection.

Medical books are distributed to the locals to improve their knowledge on matters of health.

"To carry out medical care on the basis of a family as a unit is significant as it plays a vital role in promoting social harmony," Liu said.

Hidemi Sasaki, president of Global Sales Company in Japan, and a volunteer last year, said he will ask more of his staff to join the medical help campaign.

"I will return with more medicine and services," he told China Daily.

Wen said the campaign will be a permanent one of CIFC. The organization was founded in August 2004 by social figures, companies, charity organizations and other institutions at home and abroad.

(China Daily May 2, 2008)

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