BEIJING, Aug. 19 (Xinhua) -- China's National Health Commission has released a plan for the development of medical talent for the 14th Five-Year Plan period (2021-2025).
According to the plan, China will have 16 million medical workers by 2025, with the ratio of doctors to nurses in public hospitals reaching 1:2.
The document was released ahead of China's fifth Doctors' Day, also known as Medical Workers' Day, which falls on Friday.
Statistics show that in 2021, China's average life expectancy was 78.2 years, up nearly 4 years over a decade; the country's main health indicators were in the forefront of middle- and high-income countries; the mortality rates of pregnant women, infants and children under 5 years old have all dropped to the lowest level in history.
SERVING THE PEOPLE
The remarkable progress could not have been made without the efforts of nearly 14 million medical workers in the country.
Bai Xiaohui was one of them. As deputy head of the department of clinical laboratory medicine in Shandong Provincial Hospital, Bai had served on the epidemic control frontline in multiple places since the COVID-19 outbreak.
While working in Weihai City, where she was aiding the fight against COVID-19, Bai died of a sudden illness in March this year, fulfilling her commitment as a devoted doctor till her last breath.
Pan Feng is a rural doctor working in the mountainous regions of Anlong County in southwest China's Guizhou Province. Over the course of more than two decades, she carried her medicine kit and rushed to the patient's house whenever needed, regardless of the arduous route or the rough weather.
She never regretted rejecting an opportunity to pursue a career in a big city and opting for a path at the grassroots level. "It is worthwhile of my work to spare local people the trouble of worrying about medical treatment," she said.
The stories of Bai and Pan are just a microcosm of millions of health workers in China. In cities and villages, in hospital outpatient wards and laboratories, they are the pillars of the world's largest medical service system, guarding the health and well-being of more than 1.4 billion people.
Medical talent is indispensable to promoting the high-quality development of medical and health services and building a healthy China.
To address the practical challenges facing the development of China's medical talent, the plan pledged that the number of medical workers in specialized public health institutions will exceed 1.2 million, with approximately 250,000 engaged in disease prevention and control.
The distribution of medical workers across specialties, between urban and rural areas and among different regions will also be optimized, according to the development plan.
It added that by 2025, the number of practicing (assistant) physicians will reach 4.5 million, up from 4.28 million in 2021, and the number of registered nurses will hit 5.5 million.
"Placing the protection of people's health in a strategic position of priority for development" -- this is the commitment of the Party and the state to the people, as well as the fundamental principle for medical workers to follow in their work.
By 2025, China plans to increase the average life expectancy by about one year from that of 2020. ■