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China medical team assists 9.3 million Malians


Updated: 2017-08-19


Medical team members operate on a patient with a bone injury in Mali Hospital. [Photo/ zj.zjol.com.cn]

A team of doctors recently returned to Zhejiang province after completing a two-year aid project in the Republic of Mali in West Africa.

The Chinese medical workers received an award from the president of Mali in July in recognition of the exceptional devotion they showed during a tour of duty made even more challenging by the ongoing conflict and prevalence of disease in the West African country.

The team was the 24th group of doctors sent by Zhejiang province to Mali since the first team arrived in Bamako, the country's capital in 1968.

The East China province has sent more than 700 medical workers to Mali in total, which have treated an estimated 9.3 million Malians.

Mali has built a close relationship with Zhejiang thanks to the continual assistance it has provided during the past 50 years.

The medical workers from Zhejiang mainly worked at the Mali Hospital, which was built by China in Bamako.

From the beginning, they faced severely challenging conditions, including hot weather, the threat of severe diseases, a lack of medical equipment and an unstable political situation.

Song Baishan, vice president of Zhejiang Hospital, was the leader of the team that arrived at Mali Hospital from China in July 2015.

"We are at a point of no return," Song recalls saying the first time he entered the operating theater to treat an HIV positive patient with a large area fracture.

But thanks to the efforts of the Zhejiang medical team and other aid organizations, the conditions and equipment at the hospital have improved significantly over the last two years.

Medical technologies for treating gynecologic endocrine diseases and infertility were brought to Mali by Lu Xiu'e, a chief physician at the endocrinology department of the Affiliated Hospital, Medical College of Zhejiang University.

Mali Hospital now also provides free early screenings for HPV, which benefits local women.

The Chinese medical team established stable supply channels for medical consumables such as syringes, gloves, catheters and other essentials, which has helped improve emergency care at the hospital. These medical materials are all from China.

A group of African doctors have been selected to go to Hangzhou, Zhejiang province for further study.

The most serious incident the Chinese team faced was the 2015 Bamako hotel attack. Song and several colleagues were on the front lines treating patients at a rehabilitation center just 500 meters from the scene.

When Song heard the news that three Chinese executives died in the attack, even as a doctor who used to seeing separation and death, he still felt great sorrow for his compatriots. "I just tried to offer what assistance I could to them," said Song after the rescue operation.

Throughout their two years as volunteers, many members of the medical team members felt lonely and homesick, especially during traditional Chinese festivals. However, in order to live up to their Malian hosts' trust and respect, they stuck to their job and finally built the medical team into one of the most renowned in the country.


Link: China's Central Government / World Health Organization / United Nations Population Fund / UNICEF in China

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