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Disease pattern and chronic illness in rural China: The Hong Kong Red Cross basic health clinic after 2008 Sichuan earthquake

Authors

  • Kevin KC Hung,

    Corresponding author
    1. Accident & Emergency Medicine Academic Unit, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Prince of Wales Hospital, Hong Kong SAR, China
    • Collaborating Centre for Oxford University and CUHK for Disaster and Medical Humanitarian Response, School of Public Health and Primary Care, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Prince of Wales Hospital, Hong Kong SAR, China
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    • Kevin KC Hung, MBChB, MPH, EMDM, MRCSEd, FHKCEM, FHKAM, Assistant Professor; Eva CC Lam, BPharm, MPH, Senior Health Coordinator; Emily YY Chan, MD, SM PIH, FHKAM (Community Medicine), Director and Associate Professor; Colin A Graham, MD, FCEM, FHKAM (Emergency Medicine), Professor.
  • Eva CC Lam,

    1. International & Relief Service, Hong Kong Red Cross, Hong Kong SAR, China
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    • Kevin KC Hung, MBChB, MPH, EMDM, MRCSEd, FHKCEM, FHKAM, Assistant Professor; Eva CC Lam, BPharm, MPH, Senior Health Coordinator; Emily YY Chan, MD, SM PIH, FHKAM (Community Medicine), Director and Associate Professor; Colin A Graham, MD, FCEM, FHKAM (Emergency Medicine), Professor.
  • Emily YY Chan,

    1. Collaborating Centre for Oxford University and CUHK for Disaster and Medical Humanitarian Response, School of Public Health and Primary Care, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Prince of Wales Hospital, Hong Kong SAR, China
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    • Kevin KC Hung, MBChB, MPH, EMDM, MRCSEd, FHKCEM, FHKAM, Assistant Professor; Eva CC Lam, BPharm, MPH, Senior Health Coordinator; Emily YY Chan, MD, SM PIH, FHKAM (Community Medicine), Director and Associate Professor; Colin A Graham, MD, FCEM, FHKAM (Emergency Medicine), Professor.
  • Colin A Graham

    1. Collaborating Centre for Oxford University and CUHK for Disaster and Medical Humanitarian Response, School of Public Health and Primary Care, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Prince of Wales Hospital, Hong Kong SAR, China
    2. Accident & Emergency Medicine Academic Unit, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Prince of Wales Hospital, Hong Kong SAR, China
    Search for more papers by this author
    • Kevin KC Hung, MBChB, MPH, EMDM, MRCSEd, FHKCEM, FHKAM, Assistant Professor; Eva CC Lam, BPharm, MPH, Senior Health Coordinator; Emily YY Chan, MD, SM PIH, FHKAM (Community Medicine), Director and Associate Professor; Colin A Graham, MD, FCEM, FHKAM (Emergency Medicine), Professor.

Correspondence: Dr Kevin KC Hung, Collaborating Centre for Oxford University and CUHK for Disaster and Medical Humanitarian Response, School of Public Health and Primary Care, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Prince of Wales Hospital, Shatin, New Territories, Hong Kong SAR, China. Email: kevin.hung@cuhk.edu.hk

Abstract

Background

Medical teams might have difficulties preparing for deployment to rural towns due to a lack of prior information. The study objective was to identify the health needs and chronic disease prevalence of rural Chinese following a major earthquake.

Methods

Hong Kong Red Cross organised a basic healthcare team to Yanmen town, Jiangyou 3 weeks after the 2008 Sichuan earthquake. A cross-sectional records-based study of all patients treated by the Hong Kong Red Cross basic healthcare team from 1 June to 19 June 2008 was conducted.

Results

Two thousand and thirty-four individual patient encounters occurred during the 19-day period. Musculoskeletal, respiratory and gastrointestinal problems were the top three categories and accounted for 30.4%, 17.4% and 12.7%, respectively. The 43.4% of the 762 patients with blood pressure measurements were above the recognised criteria for hypertension.

Conclusions

We identified that the management of chronic diseases was an important issue, especially with the high prevalence of hypertension found in our study. Medical responders need to be aware of the potential pre-existing disease burden in the community, with the possible exacerbation in post-disaster situations. Careful planning on the use of treatment guidelines with particular focus on the local health resources available and issues with continuation of care will provide better care for the patients.

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