China's first training center for eye doctors from across the nation was established in Shanghai at the weekend. It aims to resolve the shortage of eye professionals.
Set up by Tongji University's School of Medicine and the private Shanghai Xinshijie Eye Hospital, the center will focus on training young doctors, especially those from western and under-developed areas.
A new society of ophthalmology was also established with participation of both state-owned medical facilities and private health facilities to further public health reform.
There are fewer than 40,000 ophthalmologists in the nation and fewer than 5,000 can perform intraocular surgery. Even in a big city like Shanghai, there is one ophthalmologist for every 10,000 residents.
"In some remote areas of Qinghai Province and Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, four to five doctors are responsible for eye disease treatment and care of several 100,000 populations," said Dr Lian Jingcai, president of Shanghai Xinshijie Eye Hospital.
The training center will offer comprehensive training on all kinds of eye surgeries.
Yan Dongfang, vice director of Shanghai Private Medical Facility Association, said private hospitals and clinics are taking a more important role in local health fields and they have become a necessary supplement to health service.