The practice of modern medicine

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Throughout China the value of traditional medicine is stressed, especially in the rural areas. All medical schools are encouraged to teach traditional medicine as part of their curriculum, and efforts are made to link colleges of Chinese medicine with Western-type medical schools. Medical education is of shorter duration than it is in Europe, and there is greater emphasis on practical work. Students spend part of their time away from the medical school working in factories or in communes; they are encouraged to question what they are taught and to participate in the educational process at all stages. One well-known form of traditional medicine is acupuncture, which is used as a therapeutic and pain-relieving technique; requiring the insertion of brass-handled needles at various points on the body, acupuncture has become quite prominent as a form of anesthesia.

The vast number of nonmedically qualified health staff, upon whom the health-care system greatly depends, includes both full-time and part-time workers. The latter include so-called barefoot doctors, who work mainly in rural areas, worker doctors in factories, and medical workers in residential communities. None of these groups is medically qualified. They have had only a three-month period of formal training, part of which is done in a hospital, fairly evenly divided between theoretical and practical work. This is followed by a varying period of on-the-job experience under supervision.

India. Ayurvedic medicine is an example of a well-organized system of traditional health care, both preventive and curative, that is widely practiced in parts of Asia. Ayurvedic medicine has a long tradition behind it, having originated in India perhaps as long as 3.000 years ago. It is still a favoured form of health care in large parts of the Eastern world, especially in India, where a large percentage of the population use this system exclusively or combined with modern medicine. The Indian Medical Council was set up in 1971 by the Indian government to establish maintenance of standards for undergraduate and postgraduate education. It establishes suitable qualifications in Indian medicine and recognizes various forms of traditional practice including Ayurvedic. Unani. and Siddha. Projects have been undertaken to integrate the indigenous Indian and Western forms of medicine. Most Ayurvedic practitioners work in rural areas, providing health care to at least 500,000.000 people in India alone. They therefore represent a major force for primary health care, and their training and deployment are important to the government of India.

Like scientific medicine, Ayurvedic medicine has both preventive and curative aspects. The preventive component emphasizes the need for a strict code of personal and social hygiene, the details of which depend upon individual, climatic, and environmental needs. Rodilv exercises, the use of herbal preparations, and Yoga form a part of the remedial measures. The curative aspects of Avurvcdic medicine involves the use of herbal medicines, 'external preparations, physiotherapy, and diet. It is a principle of Ayurvedic medicini. that the preventive and therapeutic measures be adapted to the personal requirements of each patient.

Other developing countries. A main goal of the World Health Organization (WHO), as expressed in the Alma-Ata Declaration of 1978, is to provide to all the citizens of the world a level of health that will allow them to lead socially and economically productive lives by the year 2000. By the late 1980s, however, vast disparities in health care still existed between the rich and poor countries of the world. In developing countries such as Ethiopia, Guinea, Mali, and Mozambique, for instance, governments in the late 1980s spent less than $5 per person per year on public health, while in most western European countries several hundred dollars per year was spent on each person. The disproportion of the number of physicians available between developing and developed countries is similarly wide.

: 11/11/2009