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Shanxi medical teams helping to battle coronavirus in Africa

Updated: May 8, 2020 chinadaily.com.cn Print

Province's doctors head to Cameroon, Togo and Djibouti

After the successful completion of its mission in Hubei province in March, Shanxi's medical sector is now focusing its attention on assisting countries in Africa that have been hit by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Cameroon, Togo and Djibouti are three African countries that have been receiving medical assistance from Shanxi for a long period of time, and they have not been spared from the highly contagious disease. Their poor medical systems have posed a big challenge for epidemic prevention and control.

Statistics from the World Health Organization show that there were 2,265 confirmed cases and 108 fatalities caused by COVID-19 in Cameroon by May 7. The figures were 1,124 and three in Djibouti and 128 and nine in Togo.

Shanxi's medical teams, using their rich experience and advanced equipment, are among the major forces in local epidemic prevention and control.

Che Xingxing, a doctor from Shanxi now working at a hospital in Mbalmayo, Cameroon, was among the first to take action.

Che said he is experienced in emergency rescue and familiar with the operation of ventilators and other equipment.

"I've carefully studied the guidelines for COVID-19 treatment released by China and I'm confident that I can play a role in treating patients while protecting myself well," Che told Shanxi Daily, a newspaper based in Taiyuan, capital city of the province.

Also fully prepared is He Guolin, a Shanxi doctor now stationed in Yaounde, capital city of Cameroon.

"I'm serving as an instructor, teaching local medics how to prevent the disease from spreading among medical staffers," He said.

In Shanxi, the provincial commission of health has established a specialist team to provide training and instruction to Shanxi's medics in the three African countries via online platforms.

"To date, we have attended 10 online training sessions organized by the State and Shanxi's health authorities, especially in the areas of contagion prevention, psychology and emergency response," An Buyue, head of the Shanxi medical team in Cameroon, told Shanxi Daily.

While enhancing cooperation and communication with local medics in treating Cameroon's patients, the Shanxi medical team also paid special attention to disease prevention and control among Chinese expatriates in the country, according to Che.

The doctor said his team members have frequently visited Chinese diplomatic missions and Chinese businesses in the country to offer supplies and suggestions for epidemic prevention.

The team is working with local medical institutions, helping them set up complete systems and procedures for disease control and treatment.

Practices such as testing, making space for patients to be checked and proper use of face masks, goggles and protective clothing are now standard in hospitals in Yaounde, thanks to the guidelines offered by the Shanxi medical team, according to Che.

Che and his colleagues are members of the 20th medical assistance team from Shanxi to work in Cameroon.

According to the Shanxi Commission of Health, this year is the 45th anniversary of Shanxi's medical assistance in African countries.

Since the mid-1970s, the province has dispatched 58 teams and 1,254 medical workers to Cameroon, Togo and Djibouti.

During the past four decades, medics from Shanxi have made special contribution in areas such as ophthalmology, gynecology, obstetrics and contagious disease control.

A total of 51 medics from Shanxi are currently working in Africa, including 25 in Cameroon, 20 in Togo and six in Djibouti.

According to the Shanxi Commission of Health, no infection cases of COVID-19 and other diseases have been reported among the 51 members.

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