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Chinese medical team here to help

A signing ceremony officially establishing protocols enabling a Chinese medical team to work in Samoa from 2020 to 2022 was held on Monday.

The team from the People's Republic of China consists of Yankai Yu, Yinnan Zhou, Dahua Sang, Lei Bi, Bingchen Liu, and Lei Zhu who are all from the Jilin Province People's Hospital.

The medical team arrived in Samoa early October 2020 and after the mandatory quarantine period they started their work at the National Hospital, Motootua. 

The signing ceremony was attended by the Ambassador of China to Samoa, Chao Xiaoliang, the caretaker Minister of Health, Faimalotoa Kika Stowers, the medical team from China, and was held at the Ministry of Health (M.O.H) Conference room.

In his opening address, Ambassador Xiaoliang highlighted the importance of the day as it is also International Women’s Day.

“Today is a meaningful day, the International Women’s Day. First of all, on behalf of the Chinese Embassy, I would like to extend festive greetings and best wishes to female colleagues and friends, especially those female medical workers who have fought day and night against the COVID-19 pandemic,” he said.

“I would also like to express my sincere gratitude to the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, as well as those who have made continuous contribution to the medical cooperation between China and Samoa.”

The Ambassador said the protocol is a continuation and renewal of the 2018-2020 works by Chinese medical teams. 

“Since [the] middle [of] 2018, 24 Chinese volunteer doctors from top hospitals have been sent by the Chinese Government to Samoa in four batches,” he said. 

“They worked selflessly, carried out more than 10,000 outpatient services and over 600 surgeries, processed over 2,500 pathology reports, conducted 22 free clinic services for local communities, fought shoulder to shoulder with Samoan colleagues to combat the measles outbreak and the COVID-19 pandemic, fully demonstrating the Chinese Medical Team spirit summarized by President Xi Jinping, “fearless of hardship, willing to sacrifice, dedicated to saving lives, and manifesting great love without borders.” 

He explained that with the current protocol, the Chinese government will send medical teams covering more specialised departments in urgent need of assistance in Samoa and that in the following two years, four new batches of Chinese Medical Teams from top hospitals in China will come to Samoa and work at the Tupua Tamasese Meaole Hospital. 

According to Ambassador Xiaoliang, each batch will comprise 8 medical professionals; providing professional medical services in the Departments of Cardiology, Neurology, ENT, Pathology, Urology, and I.C.U. 

“Besides medical services, the Chinese Medical Team will provide clinical training, lectures and seminars for local medical staff so as to enhance the capacity of relevant departments, and render a certain amount of medicine, equipment, and relevant materials to Samoa's Ministry of Health,” he said.

Ambassador Xiaoliang, said that the Sino-Samoa medical cooperation has a long history and has achieved fruitful results over the years and since the 1980s, the Chinese government has been sending medical teams to Samoa to provide medical services.

To date, 125 medical professionals of 18 Medical Teams have worked in Samoan hospitals.

He also explained that the Chinese government also sent short-term medical teams to Samoa.

“For example, in recent years, the eye doctors from Guangdong Province traveled to Samoa to perform cataract surgeries for local patients, free of charge; a total number of 352 patients have regained sight thanks to that. 

"Moreover, China also provided aid in building [the] T.T.M. hospital and dozens of Samoan doctors and nurses were invited to attend medical training programs held in China,” he said. 

He explained that since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, China has extended all-round support to Samoa including information sharing, experience exchange, financial support as well as medical supplies donations.

“Altogether $1.53 million Tala worth [of] PPEs and medical equipment aid were handed over. China has also established the China-Pacific Island Countries Anti-Epidemic Cooperation Fund, through which USD$250,000 was provided to Samoa,” he said. 

“Even thought China also encounters shortage of vaccines, we will contribute 10 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines under the COVID-19 Vaccine Global Access (COVAX) Facility, increasing the accessibility and affordability of vaccines in developing countries. 

"In the meantime, China has also given vaccine assistance to 69 developing countries, has exported or are exporting vaccine doses to 43 countries that certified Chinese vaccines, and authorized their emergency use.”

The team leader of the medical team from China, Dr. Yankai Yu told the Samoa Observer on Monday that his team has been working in Samoa for a few months and they like the country, saying the Samoan people are very kind and friendly.

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