With only 53 pediatricians for every 100,000 children under 14 years old, China is in great need of children's doctors, according to the National Health and Family Planning Commission (NHFPC).Jiao Yahui, a Vice Director for Medical Affairs and Administration at the NHFPC, said at a press conference that China currently has 230 million children under 14 years old, some 18 percent of the total population. But the country only has 99 children's hospitals, 118,000 pediatricians and 35,950 departments of pediatrics at hospitals or medical institutions. The doctor-patient ratio for this age group is far below the level of developed countries, Jiao said.
It was added that high occupational risks, low pay, conflict between doctors and patients, long working hours and heavy stress are among the reasons pediatrics is unattractive to doctors.
Estimates indicate a pediatrician needs to handle an average of 17 outpatient visits a day, 2.4 times higher than doctors in other fields. A pediatrician in China is also responsible for 200 hospitalized patients a year, 2.6 times more than other doctors.
“The NHFPC is cooperating with other ministries including finance, development and reform, education, human resources and social security to address the shortage of pediatricians, making efforts to strengthen training and providing higher pay,” Jiao noted.