China Visit, May 2016: blog update 5


May Trip 2016 China Update No 5: by Tricia Johnston

Today was spent at the Palliative Care Ward and then, in the evening, making jiaozi (boiled dumplings) with the staff.

All I plan to do in this Update is just to share some pieces of information that have been shared with me.

It is interesting hearing some of the stories around having a 2nd child. Two members of staff, each in their early forties and with a late primary school child have had/are having a 2nd child. In one case the older child attends a local primary school as a weekly boarder; not sure if this has always been the case or only since the 2nd baby arrived. Another member of staff’s 2nd child is looked after by family in another Province.

Upstairs from the Palliative Care Ward is the Oncology Unit. There are 135 patients, 10 of whom are children. The youngest patient is just 40 days old. Lung, breast, colon and rectal cancers are the most common. Life style choices are seen as being the main causes.

HIV rates are increasing quite significantly. This seems to be attributed to the fact that safe sex is not being practised. Suicide rates are also increasing; officials and young people in the cities and mainly women in rural areas.

Speaking to a friend today, who had a baby last year, she was telling me about post-birth care for new mothers which hasn’t changed in the nearly 30 years I’ve been coming to China. For at least 28 days, but preferably 42, the mother should rest, stay indoors, not have a fan blowing on her, have the windows open or wash – she said she washed once (including her hair) in her 42 days! The concern is that in a weakened state, following the birth, washing, being in a draft etc will make the woman more susceptible to colds, damage softened bones, affect milk supply and just generally not be good for her.

Shengjing Hospital is a public hospital, as opposed to a private one. That means all of the assets are owned by the Government (they were also described as being collectively owned). Although a public hospital it has to be run as a business as it doesn’t receive much Government funding. As a public hospital, affiliated to China Medical University (CMU), the President of the hospital is appointed by the university whose own President is appointed by the Government. Also as a public hospital all heads of departments, including the President, must retire at 60. They can continue working in a non managerial post after 60 but not as a chief of staff. Neither of the above applies to private hospitals.

In the hospital staff are paid according to the income generated by their department/clinic.

We made the jiaozi in one of the staff canteens. The catering staff had kindly made the dough, pork/celery and egg/green vegetable fillings. Once we’d made the dumplings we were allowed, unsupervised, to use the canteen’s large boiling unit to cook them.

Best wishes, Tricia

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