Chi­nese doc­tors as­sist in PNG health cri­sis

Fiji Sun - - World News - Xin­hua Feed­back: jy­otip@fi­jisun.com.fj

Port Moresby: “We will risk our lives to help them,” said Chi­nese Doc­tor Zhang Jin­song. Speak­ing about the lo­cal pa­tients in Pa­pua New Guinea, Dr Zhang is the leader of the lat­est two-year ro­ta­tion of China’s med­i­cal team pro­vid­ing as­sis­tance to PNG’s health sys­tem. This was forged un­der a bi­lat­eral agree­ment signed in 2002. The move marked the first time China had sent a med­i­cal team of its kind to the Pa­cific, a sign of the strength­en­ing ties be­tween the two na­tions.

“One of our clos­est friends in the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity is the Peo­ple’s Repub­lic of China,” PNG Min­is­ter for Na­tional Events and APEC Justin Tkatchenko told an au­di­ence at the open­ing of the Chi­nese-built Port Moresby In­ter­na­tional Con­ven­tion Cen­tre, mark­ing 40 years of bi­lat­eral re­la­tions.

In­fra­struc­ture and build­ing projects are a boom­ing part of Chi­nese-PNG co­op­er­a­tion, but the devel­op­ment of the health sec­tor con­tin­ues to form the bedrock of the re­la­tion­ship. PNG has one of the poor­est and least equipped health sys­tems in the world, with only one doc­tor per 17,068 peo­ple, mak­ing it highly sus­cep­ti­ble to epi­demics.

Cur­rently, PNG is bat­tling HIV/AIDS, multi-drug re­sis­tant tu­ber­cu­lo­sis, ty­phoid, malaria and dengue, among other pub­lic health threats. Ev­ery morn­ing, the Port Moresby Gen­eral Hos­pi­tal (POM Gen) de­ploys its spe­cially equipped wiremeshed van to pick up the Chi­nese med­i­cal team as­sist­ing lo­cal doc­tors, only to re­turn in the evening for fur­ther du­ties, such as treat­ing Chi­nese cit­i­zens in the com­mu­nity who are ill.

“I treat about 20 in­pa­tients ev­ery month, and re­ceive 60 out­pa­tients ev­ery week,” Dr Zhang said.

Pa­tients in a Pa­pua New Guinea health cen­tre wait­ing to be treated.

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