China Medical Team to continue ‘fearless’ assistance mission in Zimbabwe

The 20th batch of China Medical Team in Zimbabwe has hit the ground running, following in the step of the 19th contingent that ended duty last March. China Medical Teams, an overseas initiative of the Government of the People’s Republic of China, have been in Zimbabwe for the past 38 years, part of the 60 year history since the first batch was sent to Algeria in 1963. Review & Mail’s Tichaona Zindoga [TZ] sat down with the team [CMT] and asked various questions regarding their mandate and activities. Below is the conversation:

TZ: The 20th CMT in Zimbabwe has just begun its mission in Zimbabwe, succeeding the 19th batch that left the country a couple of months ago. Can you kindly explain what your team’s main goals and activities in Zimbabwe are?
CMT: The main objectives of the 20th China Medical Team in Zimbabwe are as follows: to further communicate and cooperate with Parirenyatwa Hospital; to enhance the influence of the China-Zimbabwe Traditional Chinese Medicine Acupuncture Center in the local area; to strengthen support for the China-Zimbabwe Friendship Hospital; and to increase the number of free clinics and expand their coverage. This year’s free clinics plan to cover all ten provinces of Zimbabwe. Through these measures, we will be better able to provide medical services to the people of Zimbabwe.


TZ: Your team has so far made significant comments on fighting malaria. How important is the fight against malaria in Africa and what expertise does your team bring to Zimbabwe?
CMT: To address the current situation of malaria in Africa and Zimbabwe, we will utilize scientific prevention and treatment theories, and disseminate information through multiple channels to enhance the knowledge and awareness of the Zimbabwean towards malaria. We will provide professional and practical prevention and treatment measures.


TZ: Your team’s coming to Zimbabwe coincides with the 60th anniversary of CMT in Africa. How important is this history and what sort of inspiration does it give you?
CMT: In 1963, the Chinese government dispatched its first medical team to aid Algeria, and in 1985, Hunan Province sent the first medical team to Zimbabwe. Over the past 60 years, successive medical teams have won praise from the governments and people of recipient countries for their superb medical skills and noble medical ethics, making historic contributions to promoting the friendship between China and recipient countries. On the occasion of the 60th anniversary of China’s foreign medical assistance, the 20th China Medical Team in Zimbabwe will continue to carry forward the spirit of “fearlessness of hardship, willing to contribute, saving lives and healing the wounded, and working with boundless love” of Chinese foreign medical teams, and continue to strengthen medical cooperation with Zimbabwe, benefit the local people and enhance friendship between China and Africa.


TZ: You (recently) embarked on free medical consultation in Goromonzi. Tell us more about this concept, and whether you are going to expand such a programme to other parts of the country?
CMT: We have provided scientific popularization, consultation, diagnosis, treatment, first-aid training for first responders, trauma first-aid training, traditional Chinese medicine acupuncture, Baduanjin and Tai Chi exercise instruction. We will offer medical services to more Zimbabwean, enhance their understanding of traditional Chinese medicine acupuncture, and enable more local people to benefit from it.


TZ: There is growing popularity of the use of Chinese medicine, in particular traditional Chinese medicines and acupuncture. How can this growing enthusiasm be harnessed to make a new movement in the health practice in Zimbabwe?
CMT: We will continue to carry out public education and awareness campaigns, train local acupuncturists in Zimbabwe, promote the registration of Chinese medicine in Zimbabwe, facilitate the certification of Chinese medicine practitioners in Zimbabwe, cooperate with local medical schools to promote Chinese medicine on campus, and encourage more medical students from Zimbabwe to study Chinese medicine techniques in China, so that they can benefit the local people when they return home.


TZ: What are prospects of wide application of traditional medicine in Zimbabwe and Africa, in your view; and can overreliance on “Western” medicine and practices be reversed?
CMT: Acupuncture has advantages such as wide indications, remarkable therapeutic effects, simple operation, low cost, and safety, making it a more feasible option in Africa where medical resources are scarce. Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) acupuncture has made positive and extensive contributions in relieving pain and suffering for local people. Currently, the China-Zimbabwe TCM Acupuncture Center has gained high popularity in the local area, and the acceptance of TCM acupuncture by local people is steadily increasing. Moreover, we hope to promote the China-Zimbabwe TCM Acupuncture Center’s model to more countries, so that TCM can better serve people around the world.


TZ: Lastly, China has been advancing the idea of “Health Silk Road”. How important are CMT in advancing this concept, and how do health cooperation foster closer relations between China and Africa?
CMT: The “Health Silk Road” is an important practice in building a global community of health for all. China has always been committed to safeguarding global health security and sending medical teams to countries in need. Over the past 60 years, China has dispatched 30,000 medical team members to 76 countries and regions, treating 290 million patients, providing a Chinese solution to promote global health, and winning wide acclaim from the international community. The 20th China Medical Team in Zimbabwe will continue to carry forward the spirit of “fearlessness of hardship, willing to contribute, saving lives and healing the wounded, and working with boundless love” of Chinese foreign medical teams, and continue to strengthen medical cooperation with Zimbabwe, benefit the local people and enhance friendship between China and Africa.

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