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Extraordinary doctor wins Bethune Award for extraordinary work

By Liu Wei | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2017-08-25 17:14

Wang Huanyun, 56, a doctor in charge of basic medical care in a village for 30 years in Hubei province has won the Bethune Award, reported a local newspaper on Aug 24.

Bethune Award is the highest nationwide administrative reward in healthcare issued by Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security and National Health and Family Planning Commission.

Wang has won the award for discovering a group of villagers with HIV/AIDS virus, for treating them for over 16 years and clearing misconceptions about HIV/AIDS in the village.

It all began in 2001. A villager came to Wang complaining about exhaustion and continuous low fever. When Wang connected the dots with other deaths for unspecified reasons in the village, he felt unsettled.

He soon conducted a research among the villagers and noticed that most of the patients had sold blood when they worked in Henan in 1990s. He made a bold assumption that the deaths might be related to AIDS.

He reported the issue to the superior. An investigation team went in the village. In over 20 days, Wang and the team interviewed more than a 1,000 people and took over 300 blood samples.

A month later, about 30 people were found infected with HIV/AIDS virus.

What's worse, the panic and misunderstanding among the villagers spread fast.

Wang applied for training to learn more about AIDS prevention and control to better help the villagers. To allay the fears of the villagers, Wang decided to live with one of the patients who lived alone.

He was devoted to help the sick. He explained about AIDS to all the villagers to help them overcome their fear, made sure that the patients took medicines regularly and conducted health check on them each week.

When Wang treated patients, he didn't wear gloves and masks.

But Wang has his own explanation about this. "The patients feel humiliation, avoid meeting people and are sensitive. They can't take discrimination and alienation and they need more understanding. To be with them works more than treatment. "

"I can't wear mask and other things as that would send a wrong signal to them. As a doctor, I know how AIDS spreads and I know how to prevent it. I'm careful."

Thanks to Wang's care and devotion, none of over 30 villagers with HIV/AIDS he's taken care of has given up out of despair. Due to Wang's care, many patients are living 10 years more than the average lifespan of an AIDS patient.

No new HIV/AIDS case has occurred in Wang's village. His efforts have been praised by the city and won many awards nationwide.

As he grows old, Wang feels he can't do enough for his job. He has persuaded his son who graduated from medical college to join him to do the job of AIDS prevention and control.

Wang Jinzhong, Wang's son, arrives at the healthcare office in the village at 7:50 am every day. "I'll keep walking on my father's footsteps to help the villagers have better medical service and keep fighting AIDS," said his son.

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