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Hum Organ. 1982 Winter;41(4):330-41.

The Barefoot Doctors of China: from political creation to professionalization.

Abstract

The Barefoot Doctor policy of the Peoples Republic of China (PRC) has recently been changed. Rather than remaining a permanent corp of paraprofessionals, Barefoot Doctors (BFD) are to be upgraded, certified, and paid wages for full-time medical work in a process of slow professionalization. This article includes a brief historical description of BFD policy evolution and a literature review that notes problems in the equitable implementation of the original policy. An update in information is added based on original material collected in 1979 and 1981, providing a current picture of efforts to implement the new professional focus. While BFDs everywhere are taking the certification examinations, there are almost no signs of other features of the new policy.

PIP:

The Barefoot Doctor policy of the Peoples Republic of China has recently been changed. Rather than remaining a permanent corp of paraprofessionals, Barefoot Doctors (BDF) are to be upgraded, certified, and paid wages for full time medical work in a process of slow professionalization. This article includes a brief historical description of BFD policy evolution and a literature review that notes problems in the equitable implementation of the original policy. An update in information is added based on original material collected in 1979 and 1981, providing a current picture of efforts to implement the new professional focus. While BFDs everywhere are taking the certification examinations, there are almost no signs of other features of the new policy which include: new standards with increased emphasis on medical work; a 2 level system of examinations (competency test and advanced certifying examination for "country or village doctor"); reserved places for the most promising BFDs in medical schools; work as full time practitioners; salaries instead of workpoints. Tables include information on the distribution of BFDs and specific training programs.

PMID:
10299059
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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