The practice of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) has been used in China for thousands of years and is still widely used today. In Tianjin, a city in northern China, TCM is being promoted as an important part of the healthcare system, particularly at the community level.
Wang, a warmhearted 34-year-old, started his TCM practice at a community health service center in Tianjin earlier this year. He receives around 15 patients every day and provides daily physical therapy for a further 15 patients. He sometimes makes home visits to provide acupuncture treatment and prepare medicine for those with mobility issues.
“The community health service center is useful because it provides easier access for patients. By working at the grassroots level, I can learn more about different illnesses and continuously improve myself,” Wang says.
TCM physicians at the community level are a key part of “a 15-minute TCM health circle” created by the municipal health authorities to provide convenient and better medical services for residents.
“TCM services at the grassroots level are the foundation of the development of TCM, and Tianjin is striving to promote TCM to benefit more residents,” says Yu Chunquan, head of the TCM bureau of the municipal health commission.
China has launched a special three-year program to promote the role of TCM in enhancing public health. It will focus on eight aspects, including the application of TCM in maternal and pediatric healthcare, elderly care, preventive treatment for chronic diseases, adolescent myopia and obesity, and the popularization of TCM knowledge.
Data shows that there are more than 260 community health service centers and township clinics in Tianjin, and all of them are able to provide TCM services.
“This means that people can reach the nearest health service center and receive TCM treatment in just 15 minutes,” Yu explains.
The TCM services at Huayuanjie community have won recognition from the locals. “Some 40 percent of the 800 outpatients received by the center every day ask for TCM services,” says Zhang Na, the center’s director.
“We see more young patients today choosing TCM, and we will continue to provide better TCM services for different groups of people,” Zhang adds.
Mu Ruina, a resident living in Zhongshanmenjie community, Hedong district, says she is a beneficiary of the 15-minute TCM health circle.
“We signed with a family doctor who can offer TCM services. Since our children are not in Tianjin, the home-visit service can solve our problems,” the 58-year-old says.
Nearly 30 percent of people in the Zhongshanmenjie community are aged over 65. Taking into account the aging population, the community has opened seven health service centers and established 21 teams of family doctors to provide better services for locals.
Meanwhile, over 80 percent of grassroots medical and health institutions in Tianjin are able to provide TCM rehabilitation services, according to Yu.
“The next step is to train 5,000 TCM practitioners for grassroots-level health institutions, providing better services for locals and meeting their healthcare needs,” Yu says.
In summary, TCM services at the community level are a key part of the 15-minute TCM health circle, which is aimed at providing convenient and better medical services for residents. Tianjin is promoting TCM to benefit more residents and has launched a special three-year program to enhance public health through TCM. With the growing demand for TCM services, community health service centers and township clinics are playing an important role in providing TCM treatment to patients. The development of TCM at the grassroots level will continue to benefit more people in the future.