GROUP PHOTO OF THE 27TH ZHEJIANG MEDICAL SQUAD TO MALI PROF. CHEN QINGYU: 3RD FROM THE LEFT IN THE BACK ROW
Eight years after the diplomatic relations between China and the Republic of Mali established in 1960, totally 26 medical squads from Zhejiang province of China have traveled ten thousand kilometers to this western African country since 1968, to provide medical assistance to local people as well as overseas Chinese.
As of today, fifty SAHZU healthcare professionals have devoted themselves in the vast land of the Africa to pursuing the course of universal love and care in the past five decades.
SAHZU Gastroenterologist Prof. CHEN Qingyu was the 51th.
He served as a member of the 27th Zhejiang Medical Squad to Mali, at Mali Hospital in the capital city of Bamako, for 570 days from October of 2020 through April of 2022.
Volunteer for the Task
According to Prof. CHEN, at the moment he saw the recruitment notice in the end of 2019, he soon signed up for the task. Everything went smoothly in the beginning. He quickly passed the interview conducted by the provincial health commission and became a member of the medical squad in January 2020.
Then, the pandemic broke out. The mission was postponed.
Prof. CHEN was allowed more time to study French and take related training courses in his spare times, while waiting for the call-up. Finally, the medical squad arrived at Mali in October 2020.
The squad consisted of 23 members from hospitals in Hangzhou, Jinhua and Quzhou. Except for providing medical services, all members were assigned other responsibilities, such as taking care of finance, logistics, and security, during their stay in Mali.
The Only Gastroenterologist
PROF. CHEN PERFORMING ENDOSCOPIC EXAMINATION
As the only gastroenterologist in the Mali Hospital at that time, Prof. CHEN's work largely involved gastroscopy and colonoscopy. As simple as it sounds, the risk of nosocomial infection was high due to limited healthcare infrastructure and the pandemic.
For example, the space in the endoscopy room was confined and difficult for medical staff and patients to move around.
Negative result of covid-19 screening required before the examination may not be always reliable because of its time-sensitiveness.
Cleaning and sterilizing the endoscopes was not an easy job either, which often demanded extra efforts from both the doctor and the nurse.
Regardless of the hardship, whenever there was a patient in critical or emergent condition, Prof. CHEN still gave his best performance all the time.
Global Health Community
During his one year and half stay in Mali, Prof. CHEN felt that he achieved an in-depth look at and a new level of understanding of global health community.
One time, the medical squad participated in a humanitarian event organized by Chaîne de l'espoir (Hope of Chain), an International NGO focusing on the health of children, at the Mali Hospital.
The goal of the event is to improve the swallowing function of local children diagnosed with corrosive esophageal strictures, through minimally invasive gastroscopic esophageal dilation and colonic interposition for esophageal replacement. In this event, Prof. CHEN had the opportunity to work with French doctors along with his Chinese and Mali colleagues.
LEFT: PROF. CHEN AND FRENCH DOCTORS IN ENDOSCOPIC PROCEDURE RIGHT: PROF. CHEN IN PRESENTATION
Doctors from three countries also conducted academic exchange activities. On behalf of the Chinese side, Prof. CHEN shared the Chinese experts consensus on endoscopic treatment of esophageal strictures as well as the clinical experience gained from the practices at SAHZU Gastroenterology. He also demonstrated the achievements of Chinese gastroenterologists in various fields, such as diagnosis and treatment of early esophageal cancer and refractory benign esophageal strictures.
There are borders between countries, yet there are no boundaries between doctors. Multiple cultures coexisted and mixed harmoniously at that moment, as Chinese, French and Mali doctors worked closely for the well-being of human health.
GROUP PHOTO OF CHINESE, MALI AND FRENCH DOCTORS TOGETHER
Settle for Mediocrity
PROF. CHEN PLAYING BADMITON
Because of the pandemic and the language barrier, life in Mali is simpler and quieter than that in China. Having exercise is the most important recreational program for the squad. However, Prof. CHEN said he is willing to live in this kind of mediocre life.
Prof. CHEN was reluctant to talk much about the obstacles he faced in Mali. Despite his own injuries, the difficulties of studying French, the worries of his father's critical illness, and the risks of the pandemic, he held on till the end. After 570 days of providing medical assistance in Africa, he completed his task and went back to China.
To be Continued
On April 14, 2022, the Ministry of Health and Social Development of Mali held a ceremony to honor the 27th Zhejiang medical squad and a welcome ceremony for the arrival of the 28th squad. All members of the 27th squad were awarded the Mali National Order of Merit in recognition of their contributions to the people of Mali and global health.
PROF. CHEN'S MALI NATIONAL ORDER OF MERIT AND CERTIFICATE
With the 27th squad's completing their mission in Mali and returning home, the 28th squad also arrived in Bamako at the same time.
This time, two SAHZU healthcare professionals, Anesthesiologist Dr. CHEN Congcong and Orthopedic Surgeon Dr. ZHU Leibo are in the 28th squad, who will continue to write a new chapter of SAHZU's story that has been going on in the land of Africa for half a century.
Author: LI JING | Reviewer: CHEN LU | Editor: LI JING | Source: CHEN QINGYU | Date:2022-07-06 | Views: