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China’s rural areas should have tests and medication available for Covid-19

Chinese local authorities must ensure that medication and detection tests for covid-19 are “readily available” in rural areas of the country, according to a directive from the State (Executive) Council quoted today by the official press.

The guideline details that village health clinics “must ensure” the supply of medication for a minimum period of at least two weeks. Vulnerable or financially challenged groups should have priority access, stresses the document, cited by the official English-language China Daily.

The directive was issued on the eve of the Lunar New Year, when hundreds of millions of Chinese migrant workers in cities return to their homeland.

This is the largest internal migration on the planet and coincides, this year, with the end of the ‘zero cases’ policy of covid-19, which for almost three years restricted the internal flow of people in the Asian country.

The end of restrictions, after protests in several cities in China, launched an unprecedented wave of infections in urban areas, which must now spread to the interior of the country, where health resources are considered insufficient.

The directive issued by the Chinese Executive indicates that local authorities also have the “task of carrying out regular inspections, delivering medication, transporting patients to larger hospitals and raising awareness of ways to prevent contagion”.

Efforts should also be made to guide residents to get vaccinated, wear a mask and avoid contact with elderly family members who suffer from chronic illnesses.

Reports of the indiscriminate use of antibiotics and hormonal drugs in the treatment of patients in the interior of the country “emphasized the importance” of official guidance, notes the China Daily.

Last month, the Chinese Executive warned of the impact of the disease in the interior of the country, which he described as “vast, populous and with few resources”.

In particular, the authorities pointed to the mass migration during the Lunar New Year period and highlighted the lack of preparedness of local health officials and the “indiscriminate use” of antibiotics and hormonal drugs in the treatment of fever patients, which “may cause harmful and even fatal side effects.”

Part of the health care system in mainland China still relies on peasants with basic medical and paramedical training, known as “barefoot doctors”, a legacy of campaigns launched after the founding of the People’s Republic in 1949 to provide basic health services. in rural areas.

According to official data released last Sunday, China has recorded almost 60,000 deaths in hospitals linked to the covid-19 pandemic, since the lifting of preventive measures in early December.

*With Lusa

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