Jiangsu health experts making change happen in “Belt and Road” countries
2018-09-30 09:50:00

Health cooperation is an important part of the “Belt and Road” initiative. With abundant medical resources, Jiangsu has sent foreign aid medical teams, built medical centers, and trained health care professionals in the recipient countries in the past five years. The province has deepened health exchanges and cooperation with countries along the initiative and actively shared medical experiences with them.

Zhang Zhen

Zhang Zhen, head of China’s 28th medical assistance team to Zanzibar Archipelago, Tanzania, put a leaflet about glaucoma into the message bottle used by Xinhua Daily for a special report, at the beach on Aug. 29, 2018, also the 68th day of the team’s arrival.

Zhang, chief physician from the Eye Center of Xuzhou City Central Hospital, now works at the archipelago’s Mnazi Mmoja Hospital. He handed the bottle to a glaucoma patient he treated and asked him to bring back to his village of Forodhani so other people can also understand the importance of glaucoma prevention.

"Our medical team arrived in Zanzibar on June 22 and, after meeting patients for a period a time, we learned that many residents suffer from chronic glaucoma. By the time they seek treatment at the hospital, the illness often reaches an advanced stage, close to blindness in both eyes,” said Zhang. In order to make more people aware of this sight-stealing disease, he also gave a lecture on glaucoma prevention at Zanzibar’s national television ZBC.

Among the 1.4 million inhabitants of the island, the medical team found many patients with eye diseases have diabetic retinopathy, caused by damage to the blood vessels in the tissue at the back of the eye. To address the problem, the medical team has organized awareness campaigns about diabetic retinopathy, including another lecture on the eye disease by Zhang at ZBC on Sept. 4.

Over the years, many ophthalmologists from Jiangsu’s major hospitals have worked in Zanzibar to offer diagnosis and treatment of various eye diseases including cataract. All the medical equipment and supplies, including eye-examination and surgical instruments, disinfectant, intraocular lenses, eye drops and drugs, are transported to the island from the port in China’s Shanghai tens of thousands of miles away.

Zhang also said that China’s help to Zanzibar has enabled local people to access basic health protection and treatment. Patients to the Mnazi Mmoja Hospital manly come from Zanzibar and Pemba Island, but some patients also take a long way from Tanzania's mainland to get treatment here.

Two weeks after Zhang sent the bottle to a patient, he received a bottle of clove oil from Ali, another patient Zhang treated during the medical team’s free clinic in the remote Makunduchi village on Sept. 1. In the village, Ali said he often felt sore and discomfort in his eyes and he could not live a normal life because of the vision loss. After the eye examination, Zhang confirmed Ali suffered from cataract and glaucoma, with the later close to the advanced stage. At the suggestion of Zhang, Ali later went to the Mnazi Mmoja Hospital to receive phacoemulsification, a modern cataract surgery, as well as treatment for glaucoma. The successful surgery helped Ali to improve his vision and see the world clearly again. Days later when Ali came back for a follow-up check, he brought Zhang a bottle of clove oil as an expression of his gratitude, saying this can be used in massage and help relieve Zhang’s stress since he works hard and performs tens of surgeries a day.

Source:jschina.com.cn Editor:Cassie
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