Feature: Chinese acupuncturists earn recognition, respect from Algerians

By Xinhua writers Shuai Anning, Chen Mengyang (Xinhua) 11:23, April 05, 2023

Chinese acupuncturist Yang Yi poses for a photo with Algerian patient Appomata (R) at the Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) center in Algiers, Algeria, June 8, 2022. (Chinese Medical Team to Algeria/Handout via Xinhua)

ALGIERS, April 4 (Xinhua) -- It was a Monday morning at the Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) Center in Algiers, the capital of Algeria. The corridor, as usual, was thronged with patients who booked appointments at least half a year in advance for a session of acupuncture treatment.

Among them was Appomata, an Algerian woman in her 40s who came for the last treatment for her myelitis. Looking healthy and robust, one could hardly imagine that two months ago, she could hardly move her body from the neck below.

"I was prepared to live the rest of my life in a wheelchair," said Appomata. But thanks to the electro-acupuncture treatment with "magical needles" by Yang Yi, a Chinese acupuncturist, Appomata could sit up after two weeks and stand up after one month of treatment.

Accompanied by her husband and daughter, Appomata came this time also to express her gratitude for Yang, for whom she even performed a dance.

Having been operating for six years, the TCM center in Algiers' Ben Aknoun hospital enjoys huge popularity among local Algerians. Many are amazed at how a metal needle could relieve their chronic pain that is intractable to modern western medicine.

"The Chinese acupuncture is magical," said Ayoub Touati, a patient with tenosynovitis, a painful condition that limits the movement of one's thumbs and wrist due to the inflammation of a tendon and its sheath. The 62-year-old had planned to undergo surgery in France before his pain was cured by Yang with the so-called "needle knife" method.

"I was amazed by this magical needle," said Touati. "No surgery, no stitches. Just in a few seconds, and the pain is gone."

Yang said she had treated about 20 patients with tenosynovitis in the past one and a half years, most of whom were referred to her by other patients.

She usually receives 20-30 patients a day, a heavy workload for the 56-year-old. Yet, she felt fulfilled by being able to help as many patients as possible and promote Chinese traditional medical treatment.

"The Chinese acupuncture has taken root in Algeria thanks to the continuous dedication of the Chinese medical teams over the past 60 years," said Yang, a member of the 27th Chinese medical team sent to Algeria in 2021 from China's central Hubei province.

China was the first country to send a medical team to Algeria after the latter declared independence from France in 1962. Over the past 60 years, China has sent more than 3,500 medical staff to the North African country, most of them are acupuncturists and obstetricians.

Over the past six decades, those Chinese doctors have treated about 27.37 million patients in Algeria, performed about 1.74 million operations, and delivered 2.07 million newborns.

Yang Yi said she was proud to learn that Chinese doctors and the TCM have earned recognition and respect from the Algerians for their dedicated services and magical effects.

She recalled that one time, a 58-year-old Algerian woman showed a photo taken 27 years ago with some Chinese doctors who cured the woman's twisted ankle with acupuncture.

Pointing at the faded photo, Yang said that the Chinese doctors in the picture are still remembered by the Algerian patients who received their help, which makes "their efforts all the more worthwhile."

The Algerian patient proposed to take a new picture with Yang and other Chinese doctors, saying that she will always keep the photos as a witness to the long-lasting friendship between the peoples of the two countries.

Yang Shengyu, the younger sister of Yang Yi, also a member of the 27th batch, said she plans to stay for a third two-year term after the end of her current second term.

"I feel happy that I could help the people here," she said, "I am just an ordinary person... but I feel honored just being able to help." 


(Web editor: Zhong Wenxing, Wu Chaolan)


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