Chi­nese Doc­tors in Zam­bia

In the re­mote and beau­ti­ful African coun­try of Zam­bia, Chi­nese doc­tors at the Chi­naZam­bia Friend­ship Hos­pi­tal are af­fec­tion­ately called “en­voys of China-zam­bia friend­ship” by the lo­cal peo­ple and their Chi­nese com­pa­tri­ots alike.

China Pictorial (English) - - Contents - Text and pho­to­graphs by Qin Bin

On June 23, 2018, Sari Ma, a 30-year-old Zam­bian mother, brought her fourth child to the China-zam­bia Friend­ship Hos­pi­tal for a fol­low-up checkup six weeks af­ter de­liv­ery.

She was ex­am­ined by Chi­nese doc­tor Li Hail­ian, di­rec­tor of the De­part­ment of Gy­ne­col­ogy and Ob­stet­rics at the hos­pi­tal.

Li came to the China-zam­bia Friend­ship Hos­pi­tal in 2005 with her hus­band Qin Xisheng, deputy gen­eral man­ager of the China-zam­bia Eco­nomic and Trade Co­op­er­a­tion Zone and pres­i­dent of the hos­pi­tal.

Be­fore their ar­rival, the re­gion lacked any lo­cal gy­ne­col­o­gist and ob­ste­tri­cian, and the ma­ter­nal mor­tal­ity rate was painfully high due to mea­ger med­i­cal con­di­tions.

How­ever, since Li Hail­ian ar­rived, the De­part­ment of Gy­ne­col­ogy and Ob­stet­rics and has trans­formed into a lead­ing de­part­ment of the hos­pi­tal. Not only do they strictly screen preg­nant women with HIV and treat them for free to re­duce the risk of mother-to-child trans­mis­sion, but her team also di­ag­noses and treats lo­cal women for high-risk preg­nancy.

Liu Yue­qin came to Zam­bia in 2015 af­ter re­tir­ing from the China Non­fer­rous Metal Min­ing (Group) Co., Ltd., known as CNMC for short. Now, she serves as ad­min­is­tra­tive man­ager of the China-zam­bia Friend­ship Hos­pi­tal. “Our hos­pi­tal is the only one in Zam­bia with zero ma­ter­nal death, and we also have the low­est in­fant mor­tal­ity rate,” she said proudly.

Lo­cated in the city of Kitwe, the China-zam­bia Friend­ship Hos­pi­tal sprouted from Nkana Min­ing Hos­pi­tal, which was es­tab­lished in the 1930s.

Af­ter clos­ing for many years due to mis­man­age­ment, the hos­pi­tal was ac­quired by NFC Africa Min­ing, a sub­sidiary of CNMC in Africa, in 2000 and re­named China-zam­bia Friend­ship Hos­pi­tal.

For its long-term de­vel­op­ment, the hos­pi­tal was trans­ferred to a med­i­cal in­sti­tu­tion un­der the man­age­ment of the China-zam­bia Eco­nomic and Trade Co­op­er­a­tion Zone in Novem­ber 2009.

Med­i­cal re­sources in Zam­bia are quite limited. The China-zam­bia Friend­ship Hos­pi­tal has played an im­por­tant role in im­prov­ing lo­cal med­i­cal ser­vices ca­pac­ity.

The hos­pi­tal not only pro­vides med­i­cal ser­vices for Chi­nese em­ploy­ees of Chi­na­funded en­ter­prises in Zam­bia, but also of­fers free treat­ment to lo­cal em­ploy­ees and their fam­i­lies. Thanks to the im­pres­sive de­vel­op­ment of the hos­pi­tal, in­creas­ing num­bers of lo­cals come there when in need of med­i­cal treat­ment.

How­ever, the de­vel­op­ment of the hos­pi­tal only pro­gresses through ef­forts of the whole med­i­cal team. A to­tal of seven Chi­nese doc­tors at the hos­pi­tal work with more than 10 Zam­bian doc­tors and nurses.

Ma­jor op­er­a­tions and di­ag­noses still de­pend on Chi­nese doc­tors. Al­though there is a ba­sic di­vi­sion of la­bor, some sit­u­a­tions re­quire any­one avail­able to help out from time to time. Grad­u­ally, every doc­tor was cer­ti­fied as a gen­eral prac­ti­tioner.

Su Zhib­ing, di­rec­tor of the De­part­ment of Anes­the­si­ol­ogy and as­sis­tant to the pres­i­dent of the hos­pi­tal, came to Zam­bia in 2010. Not only is he an anes­the­si­ol­o­gist, but he also over­sees man­age­ment of the hos­pi­tal’s wards and phar­macy.

Many places in Zam­bia have a high rate of HIV in­fec­tion, and hos­pi­tals cer­tainly have them. “When we ar­rived, I re­al­ized that of 20 in­pa­tients in one ward, 19 were AIDS pa­tients suf­fer­ing var­i­ous com­pli­ca­tions, which was re­ally de­press­ing,” re­vealed Qin Xisheng. “Sav­ing lives is a doc­tor’s duty, which we all need to take se­ri­ously, so you have to stay calm and pro­tect your­self.”

Once, when Li and Qin were per­form­ing a surgery on an Hiv-in­fected pa­tient, Li

ac­ci­den­tally knocked a pair of scis­sors from Qin’s hand, which fell through Qin’s shoe and stabbed his foot.

“When it hap­pened, we didn’t care much about it and went on with the op­er­a­tion,” she re­called. “When the pro­ce­dure was com­pleted, I re­al­ized he should rush for an in­jec­tion.” For­tu­nately, Qin wasn’t in­fected. But since then, sur­geons are all re­quired to wear hard-rub­ber shoes in the op­er­at­ing room.

For Chi­nese em­ploy­ees in Zam­bia, the hos­pi­tal is their har­bor and shel­ter in the for­eign coun­try. On May 19, 2005, a Chi­nese em­ployee of a Chi­nese-funded en­ter­prise was in­jured se­verely dur­ing con­struc­tion work. An in­jury to his head led to an in­tracra­nial hem­or­rhage and coma.

Qin im­me­di­ately or­ga­nized an emer­gency res­cue. Af­ter the op­er­a­tion, he wor­ried that the pa­tient’s dif­fi­culty in speak­ing would mak­ing nurs­ing more dif­fi­cult and neg­a­tively im­pact treat­ment, so he per­son­ally took care of the pa­tient for more than 20 days un­til he was out of dan­ger.

Many lo­cal peo­ple can’t af­ford the bills, but Qin al­ways gives them a steep dis­count or free treat­ment. In fact, of all the med­i­cal in­sti­tu­tions in Zam­bia, the China-zam­bia Friend­ship Hos­pi­tal charges the low­est for med­i­cal ser­vices.

“Most Zam­bian peo­ple are not rich, and we’re not op­er­at­ing a hos­pi­tal here to make money,” de­clared Qin. “We want to serve Chi­nese en­ter­prises well and do great things for the lo­cal peo­ple so we can earn a good rep­u­ta­tion for Chi­nese peo­ple and en­ter­prises over­seas. The work we’re do­ing here is about things that are much more im­por­tant than money.”

Zam­bian women wait for doc­tors’ calling for re­ex­am­i­na­tion out­side of the De­part­ment of Gy­ne­col­ogy and Ob­stet­rics, the busiest de­part­ment of the China-zam­bia Friend­ship Hos­pi­tal.

Chi­nese doc­tor Li Hail­ian, di­rec­tor of the De­part­ment of Gy­ne­col­ogy and Ob­stet­rics at the China-zam­bia Friend­ship Hos­pi­tal, gave Sari Ma, a 30-year- old Zam­bian mother, a fol­low- up checkup six weeks af­ter de­liv­ery.

Chi­nese doc­tors per­form surgery on a Zam­bian pa­tient in the op­er­at­ing room at the China-zam­bia Friend­ship Hos­pi­tal.

Some med­i­cal work­ers play bas­ket­ball at the liv­ing area of the China-zam­bia Friend­ship Hos­pi­tal.

A Zam­bian doc­tor at the China-zam­bia Friend­ship Hos­pi­tal gives a phys­i­cal ex­am­i­na­tion to a lo­cal man.

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