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People's Daily Online>>China Military

Military doctors gain from Sudan experience

By Xu Wei (China Daily)

09:51, December 12, 2011

ZIBO, Shandong - For doctors in People's Liberation Army (PLA) military hospitals, taking part in a peacekeeping mission in South Sudan is about as close to being in a war zone as they can come.

Since 2005, the PLA Jinan Military Area Command - which is mainly responsible for defending Shandong and Henan provinces - has assembled a medical team composed of 60 members and dispatched it every eight months to give care to 2,000 peacekeepers living in a United Nations camp in South Sudan's Wau county.

Many who go on the trips say they gain an irreplaceable experience.

"In our normal lives, we cannot acquire the mentality of someone who is exposed to dangers all of the time," said Han Bing, political commissar of the No 148 hospital of the PLA, who came back from a peacekeeping mission in March.

The No 148 hospital is one of 16 hospitals in the military region that have sent doctors on peacekeeping missions to South Sudan. So far, half of the doctors in the hospital's field-rescue team have participated.

"We tried to send our best doctors to the UN camp so that they can benefit from having experiences overseas and in a war zone," said Li Gang, vice-president of the hospital.

Although the second Sudan Civil War ended with the signing of a peace contract in 2005, many Chinese peacekeepers have found the danger and loneliness they feel in that country give them a notion of what it would be like to be in a war.

Han said he was shocked to learn how little guns were regulated in war-torn South Sudan. He witnessed people carrying them in many places, including markets and farmland.

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