China has dispatched medical aid teams to 66 countries and regions, mostly to Africa
By Tang Jialei
The National Health and Family Planning Commission held a press conference this morning at which Ren Minghui, the head of the Commission’s Department of International Cooperation, said that China has dispatched medical aid teams to 66 countries and regions, with most teams being sent to Africa.
Ren added that the Chinese government has been involved in international medical aid for half a century. China sent its first medical aid team to Algeria in April 1963, and it has been dispatching teams to an increasing number of developing countries since then. In the past 50 years, China has sent medical aid teams to 66 countries and regions across Asia, Africa, Latin America, Europe and Oceania.
Ren further said that China currently has almost 1200 Chinese medical personnel stationed at 113 locations in 49 countries in developing regions, including doctors, nurses and other workers.
Ren added that most of the dispatched Chinese medical staff are working in the 42 African countries to which teams have been dispatched. These Chinese medical teams face onerous burdens in their daily clinical teaching and service, but their work has been commended by local governments and people.
Ren said: “Our medical teams have devoted themselves to promoting friendly relations between China and developing countries. Fifty medical personnel have lost their lives during service abroad.”
中国网8月9日讯 （记者 唐佳蕾）国家卫生计生委今天上午召开例行新闻发布会，国家卫生计生委国际合作司司长任明辉在会上表示，我们曾经向66个国家和地区派遣过援外医疗队，这些国家和地区中主要的还是非洲国家。
Head of Chinese medical aid team in Guinea: Ten-fold increase in orthopedic patients seeking treatment after Chinese doctors arrived
By Xiao Bing
Today is the 50th anniversary of the first dispatch of China’s medical aid teams to foreign countries.
The National Health and Family held a press conference this morning in which it gave details about China’s international medical aid program. At the briefing, Kong Qingyu, the head of China’s 23rd medical aid team to Guinea and deputy chief physician at Beijing’s Anzhen Hospital, talked about his experiences participating in the program.
Kong explained that all 19 members of China’s 23rd medical aid team to Guinea were dispatched from Anzhen Hospital. The team was sent to the China-Guinea Friendship Hospital — the first among 30 hospitals that China has built in Africa.
“The orthopedics department there now has the most patients of all departments in the hospital. When we first arrived, the department was far behind the standards of most hospitals across the world, and its 20-bed ward only had three or four patients. After the Chinese medical team performed a number of major surgeries there, the number of patients visiting the department increased tenfold. The ward now has an endless stream of patients who visit the department on the recommendation of health officials, government officials and various other African people who are familiar with us,” Kong said.
Kong added that because African economies are relatively backward, African patients often do not go to the hospital for treatment when they first get sick, but instead wait until the illness becomes unbearable. This makes treatment difficult.
“I am a heart surgeon. In Europe or the US, most patients with congenital heart disease are diagnosed before they are 5 years old. In China, however, you often see 30- to 40-year-old patients who suffer from undiagnosed congenital heart disease. In Africa, there are 50- to 60- year-old patients who have undiagnosed congenital heart disease. Treating these patients is very hard because their pathology and physiology has changed. However, we have been able to successfully diagnose all the undiagnosed patients we see. As an expert, I am convinced that we as Chinese doctors have been very helpful to African people,” he said.
Kong also noted that health provision in Africa is poor so China’s medical aid to Africa is a long-term project. He added that African people — from officials to ordinary people — trust and love Chinese medical teams.
Kong further said that China’s medical teams are welcomed and treated with respect in Africa, and that Africans look forward to receiving help from the teams.