BEIJING, Aug. 15 (Xinhua) -- China on Thursday observed the 50th anniversary of the first medical aid mission sent to developing countries, as well as honored participating doctors and medical teams.
Li Bin, head of the National Health and Family Planning Commission (NHFPC), called for further improvement of the country's overseas medical aid at a commemoration ceremony held in Beijing.
Li said China will help target countries with medical education, as well as transfer both regular and high-end medical technology to them. Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) services will also be provided to people in target countries, he said.
China will improve the living and working conditions of overseas Chinese medical aid workers, Li said.
Thirty medical teams and 59 individuals were honored at the ceremony.
Since 1963, 23,000 medical workers have been sent to 66 countries and regions, providing services for 270 million people, according to official statistics.
At present, 1,171 Chinese medical workers are in 113 medical centers in 49 countries and regions, among which 42 are in Africa.
Fifty Chinese medical workers have died while on foreign aid missions over the past 50 years, according to the NHFPC.
Since 2010, the NHFPC has sent medical experts to treat cataract patients in Yemen, Botswana, Algeria and other developing countries. So far, 1,000 free cataract operations have been performed.