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51 Chinese doctors sacrifice their lives for Africa in half a century

By Huang Jin (People's Daily Online)    13:59, December 03, 2015
51 Chinese doctors sacrifice their lives for Africa in half a century
File photo shows Ren Gang (R), a member of the Chinese medical team in Uganda, making an otic checkup at a hospital in Jinja, Uganda.(Photo/Xinhua)

Doctors from China have provided valuable services in Africa for over half a century - often under dangerous conditions. Fifty-one of them have paid for their humanitarian commitment with their lives.

China's medical aid to Africa began with the posting of the first relief team to Algeria in April 1963. As of today, China has sent a total of 24,300 doctors to 42 African countries. More than 270 million African patients have been diagnosed by medical relief teams from China. Fifty-one members of Chinese relief teams sacrificed their lives for Africa and its people.

China has not only continued to increase special teams sent for medical assistance to Africa, but has also cooperated with African countries for the long-term development of health services, says Cheng Feng, professor at Tsinghua University’s Research Institute for Public Health and secretary general of the China Alliance for South-South Cooperation Health Research. Some especially significant collaborations have been established for the prevention and cure of sexually transmitted infections and other urgent epidemics in the field of public health.

Over the past 52 years, members of the Chinese relief teams often had to perform their work under difficult conditions. Local governments and populations spoke highly of the contributions of Chinese doctors.

China has also developed many new forms of assistance to Africa, such as the construction of hospitals, biological laboratories and research centers for the prevention and treatment of tropical diseases. In addition, the Chinese relief teams often offered short-term free clinic services to local people.

After the outbreak of the Ebola epidemic in March of last year, China offered emergency financial assistance totaling 760 million yuan (112 million euros) to the three West African countries that suffered most from the epidemic. The Chinese government also sent a number of medical officers and medical experts to the three countries. In addition to helping treat numerous patients, Chinese doctors also trained the local medical staff there.

File photo shows doctors of the 11th Chinese medical team in Uganda training Ugandan medical workers at Jinja hospital in Jinja, the second largest city of Uganda. (Xinhua)

In the future, the focus of Sino-African cooperation in the health sector will be shifted from fighting Ebola to the expansion of the public health system. China would like to assist in the realization of a universal health care system in Africa. 

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Editor:Huang Jin,Bianji)

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