• Tue. Sep 27th, 2022

Exclusive: Chinese medical team in Solomon Islands earns respect with professionalism and sincerity

ByMadeleine J. Pierce

Aug 10, 2022

A Chinese doctor communicates with local patients in the Pacific Islands. Courtesy of Zhou

Davis was a healthy and happy 19-year-old living in Guadalcanal, Solomon Islands. His life was devastated by cerebral malaria a year ago, which left him unable to speak, chew and control his facial muscles.

Until he met Chinese doctor Lei Yandong from the Chinese medical team in the Solomon Islands, Davis’ symptoms eventually improved significantly.

Davis’ story not only impressed local doctors, but also caught the attention of local newspapers. “Chinese Doctors Doing Wonders With Acupuncture,” reads the headline from The Island Sun.

In March, based on the relevant protocol signed by the governments of China and the Solomon Islands, the first group of six-member Chinese medical teams arrived in the Solomon Islands for a year’s work.

The medical team, with great sincerity, not only showed the good image of Chinese doctors, but also won the trust and respect of local doctors and patients.

Here are the Chinese doctors

At the request of the Solomon Islands government, on February 24, the two countries signed a protocol on sending Chinese medical teams to work in the Solomon Islands. The task was given to Guizhou Province in southwest China. After about two weeks, the medical team was officially formed and the six members arrived in the South Pacific country on March 22.

The medical team’s work includes providing direct medical services to patients in the assisted hospital, teaching and training doctors, and carrying out free clinic visits and health education, Zhou said. Xinfa, head of the medical team, to the Global Times in an exclusive interview.

The team also makes full use of resources in China, expanding the service capacity of the medical team. They also provide diagnostic and treatment consultations to Chinese companies and overseas Chinese citizens in the Solomon Islands.

Zhou is from the Guizhou Provincial Health Commission and is responsible for all the work of the medical team. On the team, GP Mu Qiong, nephrologist Xu Junjuna and acupuncturist Lei Yandong, who treated Davis, are doctors from the Affiliated Hospital of Guizhou Medical University. In addition, the team also includes an interpreter and a chef.

The Chinese medical team is working at the National Referral Hospital in the capital Honiara of the Solomon Islands.

Despite being the best public hospital in the country, the national referral hospital faces problems such as poor quality medical services, obsolete equipment and a lack of medicines and equipment – the hospital itself was rebuilt on the United States Field Hospital during World War II.

Faced with such a situation, the medical team prepared in advance. They carried medicine worth a total of 1 million yuan ($147,000) with them to the Solomon Islands.

On August 5, the first hemodialysis machine donated by China was delivered to the national referral hospital.

“Solomon Islands was not capable of hemodialysis before, and the new equipment and consumables donated by China have brought hope to local kidney disease patients,” Zhou said, adding that Dr Xu had started teaching local colleagues kidney dialysis techniques.

China and the Solomon Islands formally established diplomatic relations in September 2019. As the first group of Chinese medical teams, they face a great challenge to entrust their health and lives to local islanders.

“We are not afraid to endure hardship, but we are afraid that the locals will not accept us,” Zhou said. At the very beginning, during the work, the team also encountered situations of misunderstanding. “But we were patient. We made friends with local doctors, gradually showing our sincerity.”

Due to receiving a large number of patients transferred from lower-level hospitals across the island, the National Referral Hospital is full almost every day, leaving Chinese doctors to work at a high load every day.

At the same time, the medical team also has to overcome various difficulties such as language and infectious diseases. “Malaria is widespread in the Solomon Islands. One of our team members contracted malaria shortly after arriving and even wrote his last words,” Zhou said.

According to Zhou, experts from Australia and other countries will also visit Solomon regularly. “But the local doctors told us that the Australian experts did not let the local doctors see them when they performed the operation. They did not teach the technique to the local doctors.”

Instead, Chinese doctors are doing all they can to pass on their experience and technology to local hospitals and doctors, giving them confidence, Zhou said.

In addition, more than 30 expert teams returned to China assisted the Solomon Islands medical team, which increased platforms and opportunities for peer-to-peer exchange and consultation between China and the Solomon Islands.

In response to the high incidence of diseases such as diabetes, kidney disease and stroke in the Solomon Islands, the medical team, with the support of the Chinese Embassy, ​​successively published articles in local newspapers to introduce knowledge about the prevention and treatment of diseases.

magic acupuncture

“Thank you to the Chinese medical team, especially Dr. Jack Lei, for devoting a lot of your time with your experiences and techniques to provide me with acupuncture treatment as one of your patients,” said writes a local resident on the Chinese medical team’s Facebook page.

In less than six months, Lei, an expert in traditional Chinese medicine and acupuncture on the medical team, changed the local people’s attitude towards acupuncture from “never heard of before” to “such a magic”.

“A lot of obstacles have been overcome in this transformation,” Zhou said. As the Solomon Islands has no knowledge of the traditional Chinese medicine system, Lei’s degree was not recognized in the island country.

Fortunately, with the support and efforts of the Chinese Embassy, ​​the medical team finally obtained the administrative license from the local health authority, temporarily allowing Lei to start acupuncture at the national referral hospital.

Under the disbelief and doubts of local doctors, Lei took over Davis, whose condition was considered by local doctors to be incurable. However, after three treatments, Davis was able to chew and pronounce. After 10 acupuncture treatments, Davis was able to eat normal food on his own.

“Local doctors, Davis and his relatives thought it was magic,” Zhou said. “Patients started lining up outside the rehabilitation ward clinics.”

Currently, Lei has effectively treated many patients with facial paralysis, lumbar disc herniation, shoulder and neck pain or other symptoms. Doctors and local people have a new understanding of traditional Chinese medicine and acupuncture.

“It is with great excitement that we have learned that many patients undergoing acupuncture are reporting improvements to their bodies. This will be an area that my department will investigate further to ensure that we support our local healthcare professionals who will continue their studies in the field of acupuncture,” said Dr. Culwick Togamana, Minister of Health and Medical Services of the Solomon Islands, during a visit to the Chinese medical team in May.

Zhou said that due to shortages of drugs and test reagents and aging equipment in Solomon Islands hospitals, traditional Chinese medicine, which can be treated by looking, smelling, questioning and acupuncture, is particularly suitable for promotion in the country. .

Recently, two doctors from the National Referral Hospital voluntarily started learning acupuncture with Lei.

Zhou revealed that in the future, exchanges and training of medical personnel between China and the Solomon Islands will be more frequent. At present, a group of medical students from the island country went to China to study.

The Chinese-funded comprehensive medical center at the Solomon Islands National Referral Hospital has completed a site feasibility study and will soon be under construction, Star News reported in May.

“A big thank you to the Chinese government and people,” said Permanent Secretary to the Minister of Health and Medical Services Pauline McNeil.

“As the first group of Chinese medical teams in the Solomon Islands, our mission is to lay a solid foundation, stand firm, hold firm and pave the way for follow-up team members,” Zhou noted. .

“Thanks to the continuous efforts of the medical teams, the pragmatic medical and health care cooperation between China and the Solomon Islands will surely lead to fruitful results and win the sincere support of the local people,” he said. .