September 11, 2022 0 Comments
Tuesday 6 September 2022, was organized at the Confucius Institute of the University of Yaoundé II, a lecture given by the 22nd Chinese medical team in Cameroon, teaching first first aid to students. This was part of a vast program brought about by the China-Cameroun medical cooperation. China and Cameroon since the signing up of their diplomatic ties in 1971 have been cooperating in multiple area among which heath and sanitation. That cooperation has deepened since the pandemic of covid-19 that brought unprecedented damages to peoples’ lives and to the world economy. China as a sincere friend of Cameroon, have been assisting the country by sending medical team, equipment, vaccines and many other necessities.
It is in this context that, the 22nd Chinese medical team from Shanxi province in China arrived the 24 April 2022 in Yaoundé, the capital city of the republic of Cameroun. A team made of 11 specialists and generalists of different fields of expertise such as internal medicine, surgery, ophthalmology, anesthesia, traditional Chinese medicine, etc.. all coming from tertiary grade hospital in China such as the second people hospital of Chanzhi.
The head of this 22nd team, doctor Qin Haili in a short interview granted to the author of this article, has reaffirmed the commitment of Chinese doctors alongside their Cameroonian colleagues to step up the China Cameroon medical cooperation in multiple domains including experience sharing, mutual learning, skills transfer as well as more social awareness on health issues among young and old people. “We want to put our skills at the service of the population through curing patients both at hospitals and in localities, especially for those having financial difficulties, that is our first mission here”, said Doctor Qin Haili. “Our second mission is to popularize the traditional Chinese medicine to help build the image of our country”, she continued. “We also want to impact the Cameroonian society, especially the youth with our social actions such as training the youth to emergency first aid and raise the awareness of basic life-saving behaviors. That was the purpose of our lecture to Cameroonian students studying Chinese languages and culture in the Confucius Institute at the University of Yaoundé II”, pursued doctor Qin Haili.
The head of the 22nd Chinese medical team in Cameroon wishes to further up their social actions in primary and secondary schools, and help build the friendship and people-to-people trust with the youngest as well. Of course, live in Cameroon for newly come Chinese doctors does not go without challenges and good surprises. There is certainly a cultural gap between the two countries in terms of foods, environment, peoples and languages differences. The medical team have to adapt to their new home despites some challenges. On behalf of her colleagues, Doctor Qin Haili acknowledged above all the welcoming and enthusiastic spirit of Cameroonians people of all ages vis-à-vis the Chinese. “When Cameroonian see us in the street, they shout, ‘chinois’, ‘ami’, ‘amigo’… Cameroonians are very nice with us and thanks to the help they have provided us since our arrival here[….]. As doctors, we need to communicate with our patients, at the beginning we needed a translator who was helping, but with times we learned to feel and understand the people. We have received some specialized language training to get us ready for our mission here. Moreover, Cameroon is a bilingual country, even though our French is very poor, we can still use English with which we are more familiar since our middle school education”, she said.
Officing at the Gynaeco-Obstetric and Pediatric Hospital of Yaoundé, the medical team are putting the best of their expertise to serve the people while improving themselves alongside their Cameroonian colleagues.
As for the status quo of Cameroon health system and the improvement of the China-Cameroon health cooperation, Doctor Qin Haili made some important remarks and suggestions:
In a word, the China-Cameroon medical cooperation have produced very concretes results from the institutional level to the people-to-people level. However, there is still more to be done as the global pandemic of covid-19 has proven weaknesses of the African countries’ healthcare systems both at national and continental level. More should be done in that regards and our suggestions in the case of Cameroon go as to intensify the continuous training of Cameroonian medical staff by Chinese experts both at home and in China. We can also open local production subsidiaries of Chinese medical equipment, intended to supply local hospitals and Sino-Cameroonian hospitals built in Cameroon as part of the medical cooperation between the two countries. The enhancement of mutual learning of cultures is also fundamental in view of an even brighter cooperation and a close people-to-people bond.
Dr. TALING TENE RODRIGUE, Cameroonian Researcher, Vice Director of the Center for Francophone Studies, Institute of African Studies at Zhejiang Normal University, China.
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