Chinese military doctors to Ethiopia help improve local medical treatment standards

China Military Online
Chen Lufan
2021-03-18 17:44:11

By Sun Xingwei

A patient in his 40s came to a hospital where the 6th Chinese military medical expert team to Ethiopia works after he recovered at the end of last year. Holding the hand of team leader Li Fei, the patient was profuse in thanks.

The patient was in serious conditions when sent to the hospital, with a two-centimeters-long metal piece embedded in the jugular bulb at the base of the skull.

To prevent hemorrhage of the internal carotid artery during removal of the metal piece, a saccule must be placed in the patient’s internal carotid artery before the surgery, which requires a dedicated operating room. The medical treatment conditions in Ethiopia are too ill-equipped to perform CT angiography, let alone to have such operating rooms.

Considering the limitations, Li Fei had to import CT images into the computer and use imaging software to draw the internal carotid artery layer by layer according to the position of the skull hole, and managed to reconstruct the relative position of the blood vessel and the metal piece. Li worked with oral and maxillofacial surgeons and ENT doctors and finally succeeded in taking out the metal piece. The local medical staff expressed appreciation to the Chinese military doctors after witnessing their superb medical skills.

We constantly create conditions to ensure that our work can be carried out smoothly, Li Fei commented on the work of the medical team in the local area. With limited facilities, resources, and technical support, the Chinese military medical expert team often needs to overcome unimaginable difficulties.

Ethiopia reported its first confirmed COVID-19 case in March last year, and the pandemic situation gradually intensified since then. Li led the Chinese military medical expert team to actively participate in local pandemic prevention and control and shared China’s experience in fighting the COVID-19 in a timely manner.

At the beginning of the pandemic, few people in Ethiopia wore masks due to lack of self-protection awareness, whichbrought huge challenges to the prevention work. To inform them the potential risks, Li worked with the local health department to make pandemic prevention knowledge leaflets and posted them in the hospital, and distributed and explained prevention tips to patients. As the chief of the medical team, Li also arranged three lectures a week for medical, administrative and logistics personnel in the hospital to teach pandemic prevention and control knowledge in an all-around manner.

He also patiently taught his peers of the local hospital how to wear protective gear correctly, making them more capable in self-protection.

Li also helped training local doctors. In five-month time, a local doctor coached by Li treated more than 60 patients with zero infection rate, an achievement acknowledged by the hospital’s leaders. Later after that, the doctor was sent to Sudan in September last year to help treat COVID-19 patients there.

Ethiopia, located in the East Africa Plateau, has seen the temperature dropped and the humidity increasedin the rainy season, and along with changes of the weather were signals for community transmission of COVID-19. To contain the spread as quickly as possible, Li strongly advised the local hospital to set up isolation center and later Li and his colleagues helped the hospital complete the suggestion, and also assisted in training full-time medical staff and improving their testing capability. The center soon became one of the important isolation and treatment centers designated by the Ethiopian government and has treated more than 400 confirmed cases.

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