The People's Republic of China
The present Chinese educational system of health sciences is a complex continuum. Unlike that in many developed countries, it consists of schools of health sciences with three levels: primary, secondary, and higher. This arrangement has evolved from the emerging health needs of the people and the human resources required to address them. Over the last five decades, China has nurtured two branches of medicine: traditional and Western, for which there are separate schools. The two kinds of medical schools are neither competitive with, nor alternatives to, but rather learn from each other. This policy has guided the development of medicine and medical education in China.
Western medicine became popular for the Chinese population only in the past several decades, while traditional medicine has a long history, a large influence, and an enormous following, and is deeply rooted in the population. Although initially there was considerable resistance from Western-oriented professional groups to traditional medicine, this eventually waned. The policymakers in the Chinese Ministry of Health prevailed and carried out a program for maintaining both kinds of medicine and offering two kinds of education in the health sciences. The success and failure of this policy must be viewed in the context of actual improvement in the health of the people.
Chinese traditional medicine has several thousand years of history. According to the record in the ancient document Rituals of Zhou Dynasty: Heavenly Officialdom ( 1,000 B.C.), medical men in the court were of four different kinds: the diet doctor (dietitian), disease doctor (physician), ulcer doctor (surgeon), and animal doctor (veterinarian), whose knowledge and skill was transmitted at the beginning, mainly by a long period of apprenticeship. In the year A.D. 443, Emperor Wen of Liu Song Kingdom appointed medical doctors to conduct medical education, and in A.D. 624, the Imperial Medical Academy was founded.