Guideline urges ample supply of medicine in rural areas

BEIJING: Local governments must make sure medications and antigen test kits are readily available in rural areas, according to a guideline released on Wednesday.
Issued by the State Council’s Joint Prevention and Control Mechanism, the country’s COVID-19 control task force, the guideline said antigen test kits or nucleic acid tests must be made readily available for fever patients. Village health clinics must ensure they have at least a two-week supply of medication, to which vulnerable groups or those with financial difficulties should have priority access.
Local authorities are also tasked with conducting regular inspections, delivering medication, transporting patients to bigger hospitals and raising awareness about epidemic control, it said. Efforts must also be made to guide villagers to get vaccinated, wear masks and avoid gatherings and spending time with elderly relatives with underlying illnesses.
Media reports of indiscriminate use of antibiotics and hormonal drugs in treating fever patients in the countryside have underscored the importance and timeliness of the official guidance from health authorities.
Last month, officials attending a meeting on COVID-19 control in rural regions described the Chinese countryside as “vast, populous and thinly resourced”.
They warned that the expected mass migration for Spring Festival this month would create a new challenge for epidemic control in such areas, where a large number of elderly people live.
The officials also asked for more support for the rural healthcare system in terms of medication, equipment, human resources and funds, and to improve the system’s capacity to address challenges brought by the epidemic.
–The Daily Mail-China Daily news exchange item