China is a country of haves and have-nots. In the city, people have access to good healthcare in good facilities (often Westernized healthcare), but in the rural countryside, people have to scrape together what they can to pay-as-you-go for the most basic of services or, at times, lack-luster hospital care. Medical issues in some parts of China are a serious concern for rural families and add greatly to a households’ debt.
Yet, much of the healthcare practices in China happen within households, as rural Chinese inherit Chinese Medical knowledge from their elders, creating a surprising amount of herbalists, Chinese medical practitioners, medical shamanism and traditional medical specialists in rural communities.
As China continues to industrialize, this gap is widening and more and more people are being left behind in rural villages as their relatives move to the city. This coupled with the overall poorer state of health in rural China is contributing to a growing and ever increasingly complex issues for the health of China’s rural citizens.
This is an ongoing photojournalistic meditation on the state of health in the rural and suburban communities of China. The state of healthcare in China’s hospitals, clinics, Chinese traditional medical shops, shaman tents, etc. is reflected onto society, in homes, on the streets and on the faces of those looking for care.
In the second largest economic power, why does the rural countryside look like the third world? Who are the faces of rural China’s ever changing health care landscape?