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Documentary on Chinese medical aid to Africa causes sensation

By Wang Hailin (People's Daily)    16:06, September 02, 2018

Border for Doctors, a four-episode TV documentary on China's medical aid to Africa in the past 55 years made a splash after being broadcast on August 19, the first Medical Workers' Day of China.

The documentary mirrors China’s achievements of medical aid in Africa in a comprehensive manner, and tells the touching stories of Chinese medical workers in Africa who created numerous miracles risking their lives in front of plagues, dangers, and even disasters.

It also presents China’s image as a major country that values friendship and dares to take responsibilities.

The series gained the highest ratings among all television features on its debut day, and so far has been watched for over 80 million times.

The production of the documentary took a year of the film crew who traveled over 50,000 kilometers to 14 Chinese provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities, as well as 9 African countries, according to Li Xinyan, director of China Central Television’s international channel.

The documentary was finished upon interviews of more than 100 people, including senior Chinese diplomats, incumbent ambassadors to African countries, medical team members in Africa and their relatives, African leaders, African residents and patients, Li said.

China's medical aid to Africa can be traced back to April 1963, when the first 13 Chinese medical workers were sent to Saida, Algeria. In the following half century, tens of thousands of doctors from China have been consecutively dispatched to other countries, offering medical services for more than 200 million patients.

"Thanks for your hard work. Thank you, China," a Liberian Ebola patient says in the documentary after recovery. A young patient Robert, who has also been cured, is dancing happily with the medical staff on the screen.

The outburst of Ebola in early 2014 led to more than 20,000 infections in West Africa, and over 60 percent of the infected died. Three Ebola patients in the documentary, including Robert, were almost killed by the sorrow of losing the beloved ones, thinking it could never be possible to leave the wards alive.

Fortunately, it was the coming of Chinese medical workers that brought them hope for life, and they finally recovered and left the isolation wards on January 14, 2015.

Over the past 50 some years, a total of 51 medical workers from China have paid for their humanitarian commitment with their lives in the African continent. The stories in Border for Doctors are just an epitome of China's medical assistance to Africa over the past 5 decades.

In Algeria, the local people once took bullets for Chinese doctors in war, while in Ghana, the Chinese medical staffs have trained a batch of local doctors who later formed the best cardiac surgery center in West Africa.

In the island country Comoros in the Indian Ocean, Chinese medical staffs have eliminated malaria for local community after nearly ten years of hard work.

International medical cooperation is a reflection of internationalism and humanitarianism. The Chinese medical workers are explaining the profound relationship between China and Africa through their spirits of fearlessness, dedication, and humanitarian, as well as their boundless love.

What they have done perfectly reflects the kindheartedness in Chinese culture and the ambition of building a community of shared future for mankind. 

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: Hongyu, Bianji)

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