Over 4,000 Lhasa-based monks and nuns receive free health checks

More than 4,000 Lhasa-based monks and nuns will receive free health checks at leading public hospitals.

The free health checks scheme, financed by Lhasa’s city government, includes blood tests, chest X-rays, cardiogram and ultrasound scans of the abdomen to check the clergy’s general health, said Du Xiang, a physician with the General Hospital of Tibet’s regional command of the People’s Liberation Army.

He said the checks were essential in screening for metabolic diseases as well as ailments related to the plateau residents’ diets and lifestyles.

Du’s hospital is receiving more than 900 monks from monasteries in downtown Lhasa from Monday to Thursday.

“Monks in Lhasa have easy access to medication,” according to Ngawang Tobjor from Drepung Monastery. “But few people receive routine health checks — we see a doctor only when we are really sick.”

A routine, free health check would help detect potential diseases and improve the quality of their lives, he said.

Ten hospitals are providing the health checks for monks, including three in Lhasa’s city proper and seven in its rural counties, the city government announced in a press release.

It said the checks will be carried out annually and individual health archives will be kept for each patient.

It is unclear when the scheme will be expanded to other parts of Tibet.

See also: State pension for Tibetan monks over sixty

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