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Chinese, British Project Brings Healthcare to Urban Poor

A Sino-British program to provide medical services for China's urban poor is revolutionizing healthcare in Shenyang, capital of northeast China's Liaoning Province.

The China-United Kingdom Urban Health and Poverty Project (UHPP), launched in the Heping and Tiexi districts in 2001, has helped build a community-based medical services system in the two districts, said Jin Shengguo of China's Ministry of Health community services department.

The project had also given rise to cooperation between government departments in providing medical services for the needy and creating a new training method for general practitioners, said Jin.

It has played a key role in providing community-level healthcare to the poor in Heping and Tiexi, which has a total population of 1.4 million.

The UHPP has achieved remarkable success and had a wider impact in China, said Mark George, first secretary of the British Department for International Development.

It would vigorously help the development of community health services and a medical financial assistance policy and set a good example for China's community health services and medical financial service development, said George.

The country still faced challenges in healthcare partly due to a lack of services for many people, especially the needy.

The government has tried to provide more accessible and fairly distributed healthcare by developing community health services.

The Chinese and British governments began the UHPP project in Shenyang and Chengdu, capital of southwest China's Sichuan Province in 2001. The cities of Xining and Yinchuan were included in the program later.

A review of the Shenyang program has been concluded and reviews will be carried out in Chengdu, Xining and Yinchuan later this year.

The results would help the central authorities in drafting policies on medical assistance for people in sheer poverty, George said.

(Xinhua News Agency July 20, 2006)

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