barefoot doctor

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barefoot doctor2016-12-04T15:54:13+00:00

barefoot doctor

barefoot doctor image from New Medical Terms

barefoot “doctor”


A term once used in mainland China for country health-aides who were neither barefoot nor doctors. Most were farmers who received minimal basic medical and paramedical training and worked in rural villages bringing largely preventive health care services to rural areas where urban-trained doctors would not settle. 

The barefoot doctor system was abolished in 1981 with the end of the commune system of agricultural cooperatives and a shift towards privatisation. The barefoot doctors were given the option to take an exam, if they passed they became village doctors, if not they became health aides. The new doctors began charging for their services, and because of the economic incentives, began shifting their focus to treatment of chronic conditions rather than preventative care.


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