BEIJING, Sept. 11 (Xinhua) -- The Chinese government is moving to improve traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) services among health institutions at grass-roots levels, according to the country's vice minister of health.
Speaking at a meeting on Tuesday, Wang Guoqiang revealed a national campaign to promote TCM services at grass-roots levels, describing it as "an important measure" to support and boost the development of the country's TCM cause.
"The grass roots form the main ground for TCM services as well as the foundation on which the development of TCM relies," Wang said, adding that TCM is very effective in treating many common and chronic diseases and its role in healthcare and prevention of illness has also been widely accepted.
Figures provided by Wang showed that 75.6 percent of community health service centers and 66.5 percent of those at village and town levels provide TCM services, but the service quality has much room to improve.
"Our country's TCM service coverage is not wide enough, and the service quality is not very high yet. Increasing investments and policies should be focused on grass-roots levels in order to push forward the healthy development of TCM work," the vice minister of health said.
As the main goal for the campaign, which will be jointly carried out by five departments that include the ministry and the State Administration of Traditional Chinese Medicine, the country aspires to complete a TCM network that consists mainly of grass-roots health institutions specializing in or providing TCM services by 2015.
In other words, at least 95 percent of community health centers and 90 percent of those at village and town levels should be able to provide TCM, Wang added, with the expectations that such capacity should basically meet the demand of both urban and rural residents.
Other goals include adequate facilities and equipment for TCM services and improved skills among TCM workers.
July saw a national crackdown initiated on substandard or fake materials used in TCM production, a problem for which insufficient market supplies were blamed in part.
Official figures show that China's TCM industry was valued at 317.2 billion yuan (49.7 billion U.S. dollars) in 2010, with experts forecasting that the industry's annual output will exceed 1 trillion yuan by 2015.