2023 marks China’s 60th year of sending medical teams to assist health service abroad. Recently, H.E. President Xi Jinping replied to a letter from a Chinese medical team dispatched to the Central African Republic, encouraging them to carry forward the spirit of the Chinese medical team, which is dedicated to saving lives and helping the injured without boundaries and regardless of hardship.
In 1963, China sent the first foreign medical team to Algeria. Over the past six decades, a total of 30,000 medical personnel from China have treated 290 million local patients in 76 countries and regions across five continents. After the outbreak of Ebola in West Africa, China sent more than 1,200 medical workers to treat more than 800 patients and provided public health training for more than 12,000 people. After the outbreak of COVID-19, China promptly sent 37 expert teams to 34 countries, bringing valuable experience, treatment protocols and supplies for COVID response. China has been sending medical workers to countries in need, partnering with 46 hospitals in 41 countries, and providing free cataract and heart surgery services in more than 30 countries.
Currently, Chinese medical aid teams are working in 115 medical sites in 56 countries around the world, including The Gambia. From October 1977 to March 1995, China sent more than 200 medical personnel to The Gambia, and many Gambians still remember the warm experience of being received and treated by Chinese doctors when they were young. Since the resumption of diplomatic relations between China and The Gambia, China has sent five consecutive batches of permanent medical teams and one batch of short-term anti-epidemic medical team to The Gambia, with about 10 doctors in each batch, mainly selected by the Health Commission of Liaoning Province, and specializing in major departments such as medicine, surgery, obstetrics and gynecology. Those doctors are highly skilled and experienced and more than half of them have PHD degrees. They are working at the Edward Francis Small Teaching Hospital and have treated many difficult cases. For example, at the end of last year, they completed the first pacemaker implantation in The Gambia, making history in the field of heart disease treatment. They also provided treatment and donated medicines to the hospitals and clinics in Bansang, Tumani Tenda and Basse, etc. It was for their outstanding work that the 5th Chinese Medical Aid Team to the Gambia was recently awarded by the National Health Commission of the People’s Republic of China.
As H.E. President Xi Jinping emphasized in his letter, the Chinese people love peace and cherish lives, which is illustrated by their efforts in international medical assistance. In the future, China will adhere to the principles sincerity, real results, amity and good faith, focus on the real needs of Gambian people, and continuously strength public health cooperation with The Gambia, in particularly through Medical Aid Team, making greater contributions to the building of a global community of health for all.
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in the Gambia.