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Press Release -- June 27th, 2011
Source: Cisco Systems
Tags: Construction, Equipment, Telepresence, Video

Cisco’s ‘Connecting Sichuan’ Program Transforms Regional Education and Healthcare after Disaster

CSR Program with a Total Contribution of over US$50 Million from Cisco – Designed to Build 21st Century ICT Models in Healthcare and Education

CHENGDU, China – June 27, 2011 – Cisco and the Sichuan Provincial Government today celebrated the successful completion of Cisco’s ‘Connecting Sichuan’ program, which has achieved remarkable results in rebuilding and improving local education and healthcare systems after the devastating earthquake. The ‘Connecting Sichuan’ program, carried out over the last three years, is the first successful public-private partnership program between Chinese government and a foreign corporation.

Huang Xiaoxiang, vice governor of Sichuan, Wim Elfrink, Cisco EVP for Emerging Solutions and chief globalisation officer, Owen Chan, chairman and CEO of Cisco Greater China, and Amy Christen, vice president of Cisco Corporate Affairs, attended an official handover ceremony today.  The two sides also jointly published the three-year summary report for the ‘Connecting Sichuan’ program, which details the programs successes and lessons learned.

After the major earthquake that hit Wenchuan in Sichuan Province on May 12, 2008, Cisco, the world’s leading networking solutions provider immediately built a unique public-private partnership with the Chinese government to engage in the post-quake rebuild efforts with support from government organizations and its partners. Together they launcheda three-year corporate social responsibility program—‘Connecting Sichuan’—with a total commitment of over US$50 million (or over RMB 300 million) designed to help with the rebuilding efforts.

The ‘Connecting Sichuan’ program is not only one of the largest and most prominent public-private partnerships during the post-quake rebuild process, but also a paradigm in the Sino-U.S. friendly cooperation. The program is designed to improve the healthcare and education environments in Sichuan, and to effectively promote local workforce training. Itis also the first between the Chinese government and a U.S. private-sector company.

Through government and private sector engagement focusing on common objectives, Sichuan and Cisco made continuous efforts to screen for aid targets, advance the implementation process, and create a sustainable development model for the future. Together, they have put into place modern connected IT infrastructures for 66 healthcare organizations and 102 education organizations in more than ten counties and cities. The Sichuan Provincial Government has highly recognized Cisco’s contributions to improving healthcare and education in the disaster-affected regions, and is very confident of the public-private partnership model, which is replicable and scalable to other regions and related fields.

In healthcare, ‘Connecting Sichuan’ has built 32 smart and digitized hospitals, fourconnected regional healthcare collaboration networks, sixregional healthcare data centers, and three modern mobile clinics. In education, the program has designed and delivered threesolutions including 21st century schools, education cloud, and virtual education, and has set up 25 globally recognized and future-oriented Cisco® Networking Academy® venues aiming to support higher vocational education in the local regions.

“After three years continuous hard work, the ‘Connecting Sichuan’ program is now successfully concluded with the original goals met and exceeded. Thanks to the program, modern informationization infrastructures are built to facilitate the post-quake reconstruction and sustainable development in the quake-hit areas especially for reconstruction of the education and healthcare systems,” saidHuang Xiaoxiang, vice governor of Sichuan. “In addition, the performance of the program also helped to train a large quantity of IT professionals for the development and prosperity of the disaster areas. As a sound reference for other regions, the ‘Connecting Sichuan’ program has become a typical case of successful participation of a multinational company actively involved in the post-disaster reconstruction of the Wenchuan Earthquake.

“Giving back is a core value of Cisco and we are very pleased to be part of the Sichuan rebuild efforts,” said Owen Chan, Chairman and CEO, Cisco Greater China. “Through this remarkable public-private partnership, we have been able to contribute to the healthcare and education transformation in Sichuan with the 21st century technologies and solutions developed by Cisco and our partners.  What we have done for the schools and hospitals in Sichuan can also be replicated in other parts of China to benefit more people.”

Delivering holistic and collaborative healthcare systems to help improve healthcare

Given that the healthcare facilities, the number of healthcare practitioners and the healthcare service levels in the disaster-affected regions were not able to effectively meet the actual demands of the local people, the ‘Connecting Sichuan’ team and its partners worked in concert to bridge the gap by creating a replicable and scalable collaborative delivery network. Taking advantage of its advanced ICT technologies, Cisco delivered a collaborative healthcare model for Sichuan, which supports the communication and resource sharing across the entire healthcare sector.

‘Connecting Sichuan’ was designed not just to support individual healthcare organizations affected by the earthquake, but to improve the healthcare service capacity of a region as a whole, to solve the difficulty in seeking medical care in terms of service quality and accessibility. In regions receiving the support, not only has the level of IT-enablement in the entire healthcare sector achieved a leapfrog development, but the healthcare sector as a whole has realized sustainable improvement. In addition, in alignment with the government’s Healthy China 2020 reforms, Cisco focused on creating a 21st century medical delivery system that would bridge the gap between urban and rural healthcare with advanced communication and collaboration technologies.

Creating the 21st century ICT-enabled education model, to help with the balanced development of education in the disaster-affected regions 

In education, taking advantage of its leading technologies, Cisco actively collaborated with the local government to introduce quality teaching resources and advanced teaching concepts, including diverting teachers from regions with sufficient numbers of high-quality teachers to provide manpower support for schools in the disaster-affected regions during certain periods of time. ‘Connecting Sichuan’ not only created the 21st century ICT-enabled education model, but also designed and implemented multiple solutions based on this model, aiming to help improve the quality of education in rural areas, enhance training for teachers, address the shortage of teachers, strengthen talent training, and improve the overall regional education level.

Such a 21st century ICT-enabled education model has effectively reduced the gap between rural and urban schools, and has further promoted the implementation of China’s education reform plans. Through this model, students can study more easily in an interactive learning environment and teachers in various regions can engage in more effective collaboration to provide more specific tutoring for their students. With the continuous improvement of ICT-enabled education at the grass-roots level in the disaster-affected regions, the innovative education model generated in the ‘Connecting Sichuan’ program will no doubt be able to benefit the educators and children in the disaster-affected regions in the future.

While implementing the 21st century healthcare and education solutions in disaster-affected regions, Cisco also ensured the replicable nature and continuity of the program’s results. Although the three-year program has come to an end, the momentum—and Cisco’s commitment to supporting the people of China, and Sichuan in particular—continue.

Appendix–Summary of Accomplishments for Connecting Sichuan during the three-year period:


  • The ‘Connecting Sichuan’program provided extensive infrastructures and technology investments for Sichuan, including ICT infrastructures in 66 healthcare organizations, six regional healthcare data center, oneregional healthcare operation center, onehealth emergency command center, and onehealthcare information technology training center.
  • Currently about 7,000 doctors are using the healthcare facilities equipped with Cisco technologies, and each month about 15,000 in-patients and 280,000 out-patients are benefiting from these facilities.
  • The data centers built by Cisco manage the new rural-cooperative medical insurance records for 60 million farmers and more than 400,000 electronic health records.
  • Cisco deployed the advanced information networks and information systems in 32 newly built “smart”hospitals and community healthcare centers, to significantly increase the operational efficiency of these hospitals and improve their management level.
  • The regional healthcare data centers and regional collaborative healthcare networks enable people in remote villages and townships to enjoy the quality services from higher-level hospitals, and can provide healthcare services for patients living far away from cities.
  • The tele-health networks equipped with Cisco TelePresence®video conferencing technology allow doctors to examine and treat patients remotely, making decisions more timely and reducing travel and medical costs. This technology also enables caregivers to complete network-delivered training sessions.
  • Cisco equipped mobile clinics with medical and networking technologies to enable healthcare service delivery in earthquake-devastated areas and to extend services to less-accessible regions of Sichuan.


  • The program implemented the 21stcentury education model in the earthquake-devastated urban and rural areas, built more than 1,100 interactive multimedia classrooms, and provided training for nearly 4,500 teachers, so that they can take advantage of this new teaching environment. In the multimedia classrooms, traditional blackboards are replaced by the interactive electronic whiteboards, and teachers can develop better teaching plans by utilizing collaborative resources through the Internet.
  • Provincial and county-level education clouds were established to connect schools with each other and with centralized resources and services. Six curriculum resource centers were created to serve 16 counties in Sichuan.
  • Rural students can now receive instruction from expert teachers in city schools by attending virtual classes delivered over the network.
  • Remote education centers were created, so that expert teachers in city schools can instruct rural schools remotely and interactively.
  • 51 new Cisco Networking Academy programs were created (of which 25 were directly funded by ‘Connecting Sichuan’), training more than 7,400 students, representing an annual growth of 88% since 2008.
  • Aba Teachers College, Southwest University of Science and Technology, and Mianyang Normal University were equipped with wireless networks, to connect the equipment throughout the campus, and to enable easier communication for teachers, students and school workers.

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