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Village doctor

by Patrick da Silva Sæther

Xinshi, Sichuan province

“The nearest hospital was expensive and far away. When the villagers arrived, they had to wait for hours.”


It all started 27 years ago. Motivated by the poor health conditions in the small village Xinshi, Hongde Liao (50) and his wife Gong Chen (42) wanted to help. On a daily basis, they have made an important difference in the community. As village doctors, they provide easy and accessible primary healthcare with a mix of western and traditional Chinese medicine.


Along with most of the rural youth, Liao’s own son does not want to follow his parent’s way of life. He wants to study and work somewhere else, in one of the booming cities.


While they grow older, with no descendants to rely on, the village doctors continue struggling to keep up with modern medicine.