Chinese women doctors unbowed to transform lives of South Sudanese

Updated: Apr 25, 2021 Xinhua Print
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Photo shows Dr. Sun Yangchun (R) operating the only colposcopy machine that detects cervical cancer at Juba Teaching Hospital, South Sudan, on April 16, 2021. [Xinhua/Denis Elamu]

Chinese women doctors are earning public trust for their commitment and dedication to offering treatment to their South Sudanese patients.

JUBA, April 17 (Xinhua) — Chinese women doctors are increasingly earning public trust for their commitment and dedication to offering treatment to their South Sudanese patients.

Liu Fang, a 38-year-old dermatologist with the eighth batch of the Chinese medical team in Juba is always seen busy in her office at the Juba Teaching Hospital with patients seeking treatment for various skin diseases.

Liu treats both children and adults with skin diseases such as eczema, scabies, dermatitis, drug eruption and tinea.

Liu from Anhui Province is also an expert in Chinese traditional medicine which gives her wide knowledge on how to treat several types of skin diseases in her patients.

The number of patients who make daily visits demonstrates the trust and strong relationship she has built with the public in Juba, since arriving in Juba in August 2020.

"My patients listen to my medical prescription and some of the patients who live far away are unable to come to me regularly for more medical examinations. This is the main reason why I prescribe them enough medicine so that they continue with treatment from home," Liu told Xinhua in Juba on Friday.

Liu, who treats between 70-80 patients daily, however, said that at first, she experienced challenges due to the language barrier as most of her patients speak the local Juba Arabic language.

"My challenge is the language but this is solved by our South Sudanese medical assistants who help us to translate into local Arabic for the patients. South Sudanese are very patient and very cooperative which helps my work," she said.

"Most of the medicines I need to prescribe for the patients are available so the patients often get what they need. The treatment is free of charge," she added.

Doctor Liu was part of the Chinese medical team that in December last year treated more than 2,000 locals in the Lado area of Terekeka in Central Equatoria State.

Joseph Kenyi, a medical assistant who works with Liu in their crowded office hailed the Chinese medical team for their generosity.

"I have been working with the Chinese medical teams for the last six years here. They are helping people with free treatment for skin diseases and their other teams are helping in treating other diseases. They are giving free treatment to South Sudanese who are suffering," said Kenyi.

"We deal with many patients with tinea versicolor, tinea pedis, tinea corporis, tinea capitis that affect the nails. We are here helping people with free treatment," he added.

Photo shows South Sudanese medic Joseph Kenyi (L) and Dr. Liu Fang (R) at Juba Teaching Hospital, South Sudan, on April 16, 2021. [Xinhua/Denis Elamu]

Sun Yangchun, a 38-year-old gynecologist from Anhui Medical University, said that for the few months she has spent in the main referral hospital she noticed that the high number of women suffering from cervical cancer is largely due to lack of health awareness.

"I think health awareness is still low in South Sudan, many women come here with terminal cancer and this is due to lack of health awareness. Some of these women do not turn up for timely checkup that is why some of these small problems turn into terminal cancer," said Sun who has worked for over 20 years as a gynecologist.

She operates the only colposcopy machine in the hospital donated by the Chinese government to help detect cancer and other diseases among women.

Sun disclosed that 30 percent of the inpatients in the gynecology ward suffer from cervical cancer, adding that a quarter of these suffer from terminal cancer which is extremely difficult to treat.

"From what I know cervical cancer is prevalent among South Sudanese women because of early child marriages and also due to vaginal inflammation and this is worsened by failure to seek medical examination," said Sun.

"What we can do is to use the colposcopy machine and do surgery but for terminal cancer there is no way we can treat," she added.

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