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Doctors hike up mountains in SW China’s Yunnan to provide free medical care

(People's Daily Overseas New Media)    14:00, January 21, 2019

Guan and her team hike over narrow paths to treat people in villages. (Photo: Xinhua)

Fifty-year-old Guan Yanping has been volunteering as a doctor in southwest China’s Yunnan province for a number of years. Over the years, Guan and her team have hiked over 300 times on steep, narrow mountain paths to treat people in 46 villages.

A native of southern China’s coastal city Zhuhai in Guangdong province, Guan moved to Nujiang Lisu Autonomous Prefecture in Yunnan three years ago. For the sake of villagers’ health, Guan extended her service period from the original six months to three years so that she could continue working in the mountainous region.

Because some of the villages are separated by cliffy mountains and the rough waters of the Nujiang River, Guan and her colleagues have to carry medical equipment such as electrocardiogram and ultrasound machines with baskets and trek on steep, narrow mountain paths to provide healthcare to the mountain dwellers.

It takes Guan and her team half an hour to more than three hours to hike from the foot of a mountain to a remote mountain village, some of which are situated at an altitude of over 3,000 meters.

What’s worse, their journey is constantly interrupted by heavy rain, which can trigger landslides and mudslides that cut off roads completely and make their journey even more dangerous.

Practicing medicine for mountain dwellers who are unfamiliar with the practice of thorough medical examinations can be challenging for Guan. For instance, residents in one particular village were so reluctant to get a blood test that they refused any examination involving blood draw.

Guan had to ask a colleague who knew the local dialect to explain to the villagers the necessity of blood tests and the fact that it would not harm them. Eventually, a senior resident in the village volunteered to get a blood test and the misperception pertaining to blood exams was gradually eliminated.

“I’m most happy when a patient feels better,” Guan said.

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: Yang Yang, Bianji)

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