Across China: Tibet strives to expand medical service to all monasteries

Southwest China's Tibet Autonomous Region is determined to expand medical services to its 1,700 monasteries, benefiting over 46,000 monks and nuns in next five years.

The regional commission of health and family planning said at the annual meeting of the regional legislature, which opened Wednesday, that health care clinics will be set up in monasteries across the region while monks and nuns with medical skills will also be sent there.

Ngawang Chozin, a monk from the Drepung Monastery in west Lhasa, told Xinhua that the government frequently sends medical teams to provide free clinics in monasteries during festivals, however, monks do not have access to immediate medical care in the case of urgent emergencies.

He said he was pleased that onsite doctors may soon become available.

The region launched the project to construct clinics in monasteries and train monks and nuns medical skills at the beginning of 2015.

Monks and nuns are encouraged to study medicine in Tibet. The commission has ordered hospitals, medical schools and medical institutions across the region to offer free basic medical training to all monks and nuns.

Choskyi, a nun from a temple in Lhasa, is among those undergoing training.

She had learned a little Tibetan medicine at her nunnery before she receiving the free professional training offered by the health bureau of Lhasa's Chengguan District last year.

At the end of the year, she returned to her temple and helped set up a clinic, which is well-equipped with stores of medicine, including traditional Chinese medicine, Western medicine and Tibetan medicine.

"During the eight-month training, I learned some basic knowledge of Western medicine, such as medicine dosage, transfusion therapy and how to use the oxygen generator," said Choskyi.

The clinic will not only provide medical service to nuns in the temple, but also to worshippers, Choskyi said.

The regional government has earmarked 13 million yuan (1.98 million U.S. dollars) annually since 2011 to ensure all monks and nuns are included in the basic medical insurance system.