Women and children account for 66 percent of the
Tibetan population. Whether they are healthy or not directly
Concerns the procreation and development of the whole ethnic
In old Tibet, disease was
prevalent and went untreated. A serious lack of doctors and
medicine ensured slow population growth. In 1951 the
population of Tibet had reached about 1 million, and the
average life-span of a Tibetan was 36 years, the health of
women and children couldn't be guaranteed. It vas regarded
as ''filthy act'' for women to produce children, 'they were
only permitted to give birth in cattle pens or sheepfolds.
Even on snow or rainstorms, women were not allowed into
houses or tents to have their babies. When the infants were
born, the lying-in women cut the umbilical cords, using
unsterilized scissors, and then bound the umbilical cords
,1th woolen strings.
This primitive style of
delivery raised the infant mortality rate go 1 53 per
thousand. Many lying-in women died from complications
resulting from retained placenta, bleeding after delivering
and postpartum fever. If the mothers went through a
difficult labor they and their infants would usually die.
Almost nobody could escape death. Because of the adverse
living conditions and primitive customs, the death rate of
the infantswas as high as 299 per thousand.
Since the peaceful liberation, the state
invested 640 million yuan to Tibet for the construction of
hospitals, improvement of medical and health conditions, the
training of doctors and nurses, and the development of
sanitation and antiepidemic work. The state also instituted
a system of free medical care that exists only in Tibet. In
other places, only our state's cadres like and staff enjoy
free medical care. Infectious diseases bubonic plague and
smallpox were rapidly brought under control, and
other diseases were treated and cured. The average
life span of Tibetans has increased from 36 to 64.
There are many women working as doctors in the
region who enjoy the love and respect of their people.
Tshe-ring, who graduated from Beijing No, 2 Medical College,
is among this the head of first generation of women doctors.
Today she is internal medicine at the Second People's
Hospital in Tibet Autonomous Region. In 1971 she traveled to
the countryside in Lhunze County to develop medical work,
where she trained a f health-care workers and solved the
problems created group by a lack of doctors and medicine.
She remembers staying awake for three days and nights to
save the life of a girl who ad contracted poisonous
Tshe-ring gave a medical catheter
checkup for dexiocardia to five patients who had chronic
mountain caress, along with a professor at the National
Chestward orbital in Great Britain, which produced the
results they ended for their research work of chronic
mountain sickness,since 1983 Tshe-ring has been the council
member of the Chinese Medical Association.
Yeshe Yangzom is also a Tibetan doctor who
graduated from a medical university in Beijing.
She went to work in Tibet offer her graduation. She had
worked for ten years in Nagqu, scaled 4,500 meters above sea
level on the high, cold plateau. In 1977 the Nagqu
Prefecture launched an investigation titled ''Reviewing the
Death of Tumor Patients from he Past three Years.'' She led
two doctors and several village doctors and investigated
more than 1,000 people in six villages, the cured the
tibetan people as she was making the investigation. Once,
when a lying-in woman was in shock because of the bleeding
caused by a retained placenta.Yeshe Yangzom traveled for
three hours on foot to save the woman's life.
Since 1970 medical health networks at three
levels have been built in Tibet Autonomous Region and
midwives have been trained to use new ways to deliver
children. Up until 1977, there were 4,379 rural and pastoral
medical workers and 1,556 midwives who had adopted these new
skills. In 1980 in the prefectures and cities where these
methods were being used, the rate of midwifery rose to 40
percent and increased to 52.2 percent in 1985, with the
likelihood of a future increase.
delivery rate in 1984 increased by 40.5 percent more than
that of 1980. The rate of illness by eclampsia before
delivery in 1984 decreased by 33 percent from 1980, and this
was basically controlled by 1985, in 1985 the infant
modality rate In the Tibet Autonomous Region had decreased
to 69.07 per thousand.
The departments of
obstetrics and gynecology at each hospital were now equipped
to check and cure cervicitis, vaginitis, uteritis and other
diseases which endangered women's overall health. The
dissemination of information about labor
protection during pregnancy, postpartum period, lactation
and monthly period had been enhanced.
development of medical and health care and the improvement
of the health of the population have decreased the infant
and child mortality rates, and the birth rate and natural
population growth rate are increasing yearly. In 1959, the
birth rate was 14,35 per thousand and natural population
growth rate was 8. 1 per thousand; the population was
million; the average birth rate from 1970 to 1974 was 25 per
thousand and the natural growth rate was 15.46 per thousand
and the population was 1.66 million; the average birth rate
from 1975 to 1985 was 24 per thousand. In 1983 the birth
rate was 27 per thousand and natural population growth rate
was 18.36 per thousand, which was the highest among all the
provinces in China. The average birth rate was 23 per
thousand from 1986 to 1988 and natural population growth
rate was 15 per thousand. By the fourth national census in
1990. Tibet had a population of 2,2 million.
The improved quality of the birthing process
for tibetan women is a major factor influencing the increase
of the copulation. According to the data of the fourth
national census in 1 990, we can see that sterility rate of
women from age 60 to 64 was 17 percent, which means that 1 7
women among cl hundred aged 60-64 had not given birth to
children or had children that did not survive; this figure
was 9 times 2 percent which is the normal value of the rate
of the sterility all life. And this phenomenon was rare in
the subject of population. The vigorous fertility of this
large group of women appeared before the Tibetan Democratic
Reform in 1959, which proved the low quality of birth at
that time. The low marriage rate and poor health were the
main reasons for sterility for those Tibetan women.
Since Democratic Reform was carried out in
Tibet. Tibetan life has improved and women's health
standards have improved.
During this time,
some lamas have resumed secular life on heir own accord,
They have married and reproduced so that he lifetime
sterility rate of Tibetan women in 1990 aged 55-59 has
dropped to 14.78 percent; the rate of those aged 50-54 is
12.19 percent; and the rate of those aged 45-49, which
dropped 43 percent in a decade, stands at 10.04 percent,
chile other women in this age group still have the ability
to give birth.
Many women aged 40-44 still
haven't passed the child-bearing age but the rate of still
births has dropped to 9.38 percent. This undoubtedly can be
attributed to progress made 3 Tibetan population development
and marks the promotion of medical and hygiene conditions.
Health care for Tibetan women and children
started from the ground up. Through this work, a specialized
maternal and child health care contingent has been
established and has grown. In the wake of reform and opening
up to the outside world, the push for better maternal and
child hygiene in tibet has enabled reformers to receive an
allocation of funds from the Autonomous Region Government
and financial aid from international health organizations,
including the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), the
International Save the Children Foundation, and the Swiss
Since 1985 seven hospitals for
women and children have been set up in Lhasa City and
Shannan, Xigaze, Nagqu, Nyingchi and Ngari prefectures.
The well-appointed Shannan Prefecture
Hospital, with its beautiful setting, has a medical staff of
48, 80 percent of whom are Tibetans and women, ''Before the
establishment of the hospital in 1 985, the infant mortality
rate was 1 42.3 per thousand and the pregnant and lying-in
women's death rate was 78.8 per ten thousand in Nedong
county''' said Dr, Kalsang Dolma, Vice-Director of the
hospital. ''Following the new method of delivering a child,
the infant mortality rate was 30.26 per thousand and the
lying-in women's death rate was
56,2 per ten thousand in 1989.The percentage continues to
decrease''' she said.
This hospital is
responsible for women and children's health are in 12
counties of the prefecture and it often organizes a mobile
medical team to remote mountainous areas.
1991 Kalsang Dolma led a medical team to Sekong Village,
located 4,800 meters above sea level in Renrong Dwnship,
Qiongjie County. The team included eight members who were
all women except for the driver. They performed operations
on 102 women and treated 1,500 people in Sekong and in other
nearby villages. More than a month later when they returned
to Shannan,the villagers were reluctant to let them leave.
Five months later when Kalsang Dolma led the medical
Ham again to Sekong Village, they did follow-up
examinations an the 102 women and found that every operation
had proved 3 be a success. The villagers gave them highland
barley wine led buttered tea, and regarded them as
In 1989, under the aid of the
UNICEF more than 20 counties et up health stations. The
maternal and child health work developed rapidly in these
counties. In Luoshang County of Qamdo Prefecture, the birth
rate, using the new methods, screamed from 30' percent in
1989 to 80 percent in 1992. In urban Lhasa the same rate
reached 1 00 percent, an these Counties the pregnant and
lying-in women's death rate cropped from 71 ,58 per ten
thousand in 1989 to 42.74 per ten housing in 1992; the
infant mortality rate dropped from 91 .8 per thousand in
1989 to 61 .96 per thousand.
The movement to
improve sanitation and prevent epidemic in Tibet also has
quickly developed. At the time of he peaceful liberation of
Tibet, several contagious diseases such as smallpox and
bubonic plague were prevalent in the area. In 1959, 348,700
people were vaccinated. Since the early 1960s, smallpox has
not appeared in Tibet.
In 1961 the Tibet
Sanitation and Antiepidemic Station was
established. In 1989 the entire region had 82
antiepidemic stations which employed 618 sanitation and
antiepidemic corkers. More than 80 percent of the counties
now have antiepidemic stations; most of the work is done by
women.Since 1986 the Tibet Autonomous Region has been
vaccinating children. Since that time the incidence of
Contagious diseases and mortality rate have dropped
Considerably. The incidence of measles dropped 99.86 percent
in 1991, down from l 985. Incidence of diphtheria and the
tetanus in newborn babies has not been reported in the past
six fears. With the goal to wipe out poliomyelitis in 1 995
and iodine Deficiency Disease in 2000, two rounds of
comprehensive prevention work were launched in December 1993
and in January 1994 respectively. More than 5,000 medical
workers participated in the vaccination drive in 1 ,000
In addition to
strengthening children's immunity from poliomyelitis, BCG
and measles, vaccinations were also administered
to newly-wedded women of child-bearing age lactating women
and preschool children were asked to take iodine oil
More than 176,000 children are
inoculated against pololomyelltis, with an inoculation rate
of 97.61 percent; 461,000 people are inoculated against
measles, with an inoculation rate of 95.98 percent; 587,000
people are injected with the SCG vaccine, with an
inoculation rate of 94.50 percent; and 163,000 people are
given iodine oil capsules.
In addition, more
than 100,000 farmers and herdsmen scrived treatment for
common and frequently occurring diseases free of charge.
Tsering Dolkar, Vice-president of the autonomous Region
People's Government, praised the large- cale prevention
movement and praised the efforts of the Medical team.
Family planning is policy of China. In Tibet,
obeyer, the family planning policy of ''one family, one
child,'' ; only advocated among the Nan nationality cadres
and workers who only take up 4 percent of the Tibetan
population, ne policy of ''one family, two children'' is
advocated among Ae cadres, workers and townspeople of
Tibetan and other tonic groups. The government does not
carry out the family 'tanning policy among the farmers and
herdsmen who account for 88 percent of the total population
in Tibet, but Dreads information to those families about the
importance of ltional and good childbearing skills.