As the world’s most populous state, China has a population of over 1.381 billion. The health care in China has been facing with the challenge of insufficient resources distributed in rural areas. The health care facilities are underdeveloped and experienced resource shortages at the countryside and municipal level. Both the available medical professionals and hospital beds are limited. For expats and travellers planning a trip to rural areas or towns, it is strongly recommended that they should obtain appropriate travel insurance with medical emergency coverage before departure.
Travellers and expats may encounter traditional Chinese medicine hospitals when residing in China. It will be a good idea for you to try out traditional Chinese medicine. In fact, they offer more than just herbal medicine. Medical treatment also includes acupuncture, scrapping, remedial massage, traditional physical exercises and more.
There are about 3,000 traditional Chinese medicine hospitals. Many of the doctors who train and practice in Western medicine also need to take traditional Chinese medicine courses as part of their studying. Therefore, it is common in China if you go to Western medicine hospitals, you will get both traditional Chinese medicine prescriptions and Western medicine together. To encourage traditional Chinese medicine services, the Chinese government is establishing more hospitals which specialize in TCM at municipal level in the next couple of years.
In China, private clinics refer to both joint venture and foreign-run medical facilities. They employ medical staff who received international medical training, therefore, language will not be an issue. Although treatment at private clinics are more expensive than at public hospitals, the healthcare options are more up to date with Western Standards and convenient.
Although the common concern of whether to trust the health information we get on the internet has become a worldwide problem, you have to be careful when searching medical therapy or related information online when residing in China. Evidence has been showed that some web search engines with listings are bought by bidders without adequate administered nor checked. These irresponsible medical information could mislead patients and make their conditions even worse. It is strongly suggested that expats and travellers should consult medical professionals in trustworthy facilities when facing health difficulties in China.
Medical facilities in many areas in China are very basic. For travellers going to major cities, the quality of medical treatment and the method of payment in public hospitals may not satisfactory. Popular choices of Foreign-run hospitals and clinics, although providing high quality medical services, can be very expensive and require to make payments before treatment. If in emergency medical situation, it can be even more expensive. With a comprehensive health insurance plan, you are covered for medical expenses, treatment and hospitalization, medications and emergency evacuations. It will not only make you feel at ease, but will also protect your health.
If you want to seek medical treatment in China, it is better to bring a copy of your medical records. Medical records are very important in Chinese healthcare system. It represents the record of patient medical treatment in one hospital, and it is recorded on a booklet with hospital’s name on top. Therefore, it is common to see a patient bring different medical records booklets from several hospitals. As travellers and expats in China, your medical records should mention all the medicines you are taking, your immunization history, blood type, allergies and health insurance information.
Overall speaking, medications in China are less expensive than they are in Western countries – this only refer to medications purchased from large hospitals and trustworthy pharmacies. For travellers and expats, avoid buying medications from small unregulated pharmacies. Prices can be vary dramatically and can even be fake. Sometimes one medication can be produced by several different factories with different brands. Confirm with your doctor about which brand to take or ask the pharmacist which one he recommends.
Many travellers and expats may find antibiotic as medical treatment very common in China. This is because some doctors prescribe the antibiotic as main medication. In some cases, these treatment can be good. It is recommended that travellers and expats assure there are western-trained doctors in their residing area before arriving in China. Discuss with your doctor about the proper dose according to your medical situations.
China recently announced a new five year reform plan for healthcare sector: developing infrastructure, improving training for medical professionals and allocation of resources, investing in technology for healthcare products, etc. The healthcare system in China continues to develop in the next few years. Travellers and expats going to China may want to obtain comprehensive medical insurance that covers their residency in China.
To maintain good health during your trip in China, you should look after yourself carefully. It is recommended to eat vegetables and avoid greasy or oily food when entering into a new area.
Pay attention to the weather changes. In Southern China the weather is usually hot and humid, whereas in the north it can be windy and rainy. For travellers and expats require to transit between cities, it it suggested to take different set of clothes in order to prevent getting cold. Drink more water if you need to stay outside during summer.
Changing of diet may cause diarrhea for visitors. Always wash fruits before consuming. If your symptoms persist, consult professional advice from trustworthy clinics and hospitals.
Some popular tourist attractions of China have very high altitudes such as Tibet, Sichuan and Yunnan. Travellers and expats with heart disease or high blood pressure should be aware of the serious physical problems that can occur before entering these areas.
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