Increasing number of people seeking TCM advice in recent years

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The Weifang Hi-tech Industrial Development Zone was recognized as a national model for local-level traditional Chinese medicine services by the State Administration of Traditional Chinese Medicine this year.

It is the top honor granted by the administration to local governments in recognition for their efforts in promoting TCM development.

The zone obtained 436,800 yuan ($65,964) in financial support from the provincial government to build four TCM clinics in community healthcare service centers this year.

Li Zongyang, director of the healthcare service center of a local residential community called Hanlin New City, said he has seen an increasing number of people seeking TCM advice in recent years.

So far, all community healthcare service organizations and 70 percent of Shandong province-supported community healthcare offices in the zone provide TCM services.

"Very few people sought TCM services in previous years," Li said. "Now, about 60 percent of patients visit our service center to seek advice from TCM doctors."

Many local residents who with digestive problems have visited the zone's TCM doctors. They said the low costs, quick effects and lower chance of side-effects are key reasons behind choosing TCM.

The zone has been taking measures to expand its TCM doctor team over the past few years. Seven TCM professionals, including 34-year-old Yang Fan, have been recruited to the local community healthcare service centers.

Yang, who spent eight years studying TCM and has three years of clinical experience, became a doctor at the healthcare service center of Xincheng subdistrict in 2016.

Yang is making a name for himself, providing ancient TCM prescriptions for local residents. Many patients visit him from other parts of the city.

The people's hospital in the zone is also seeing more professionals join its TCM department. The department has 18 licensed TCM doctors and eight licensed nurses.

Last year, the TCM department in the people's hospital of the zone treated 6,500 patients, 2,700 of whom were hospitalized.

The healthcare service center of Qingchi subdistrict, supported by the zone's people's hospital, was awarded the title of national model for local-level traditional Chinese medicine services in 2016. The award marks the hospital's TCM services becoming a famous brand, said local officials.

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