Over the past six decades, China has dispatched over 30,000 medical personnel to 76 countries and regions across the world, providing medical services to nearly 300 million patients.
This year marks the 60th anniversary since China began to send its first medical team to aid Algeria in 1963. Since then, countless heartfelt stories about Chinese medical personnel have surfaced, showcasing their significant contributions to global public health and the well-being of people worldwide.
Ethiopian resident Gezahegn Tilahun endured a "mysterious illness" for over two years, losing 21 kg of weight and experiencing sallow skin and eyes. He visited four hospitals without finding the cause of the pain.
He was finally received by the Armed Forces Comprehensive Specialized Hospital of Ethiopia, where Chinese medical teams have been offering aid for nine years, and was diagnosed with a pancreatic tumor.
Despite the hospital's lack of prior experience in such surgeries, Wang Xiaojun, leader of the 9th medical team sent to Ethiopia, collaborated with local doctors to perform an 8-hour-long lifesaving operation on Tilahun, earning recognition from Ethiopian colleagues.
"My true gratitude is beyond words. The doctors have given me a brand-new life," said Tilahun.
"As a mother, I was overwhelmed with fear and uncertainty. It is your calmness and professionalism that gave me hope and comfort." This was from a handwritten letter from Josephine Inapi to a Chinese medical team in Papua New Guinea for saving her newborn baby's life.
In May, Inapi's less than one-month-old baby faced severe health issues. Despite treatment with antibiotics and pulmonary artery pressure-lowering medications, the baby's oxygen saturation continued to drop, posing a grave risk of multi-organ damage, and cardiac and respiratory arrest.
Members of a medical team pose for a group photo before departure for Barbados to provide medical aid, in southwest China's Chongqing Municipality, Sept. 8, 2023. (XINHUA)
Thanks to the collaboration between the Chinese medical team and local experts from the Port Moresby General Hospital, including the introduction of neonatal mechanical ventilation skills, the baby's vital signs returned to normal.
To express her gratitude, Inapi asked for a Chinese name for her baby to commemorate the Chinese doctors.
Liu Zhenqiu, the Chinese medical team leader, named the boy "Taile," which is pronounced similar to "Taylor" in English, symbolizing "safety" and "happiness" in Chinese.
Apart from providing treatment for the patients, Chinese medical teams also shared their expertise and technologies with local doctors.
In the same hospital where Inapi's baby stayed, a local doctor recently performed the country's first laparoscopic minimally invasive surgery under the guidance of Xian Peng, a urologist from the 12th Chinese medical team.
"We should not only introduce new technologies but also make them take root here. Therefore, we carry out training for the local doctors," Xian said, adding that the Chinese medical team has organized a series of training courses for the local doctors since February this year.
Statistics revealed that Chinese medical teams dispatched abroad have trained over 100,000 local medical personnel, significantly enhancing the healthcare expertise in recipient countries.
China's altruistic medical assistance has garnered immense appreciation globally.
On Dec. 1, a medical expert team from China dispatched to Laos was awarded a medal for their outstanding contributions to medical aid in the country.
The medical team of 10 members arrived in Laos in June, said Cai Yue, the team leader, adding that they helped establish Laos' first chest pain treatment center, organized a medical academic exchange conference, and introduced advanced concepts in medical technology and management.
Cai Yue, team leader of a medical expert team of the People's Liberation Army of China dispatched to Laos receives a medal awarded by the Lao People's Army, in Vientiane, Laos, on Dec. 1, 2023. (XINHUA)
Statistics from China's National Health Commission indicated that China has so far initiated pair-up cooperation with 46 medical institutions in 41 countries and regions. Although the medical teams cannot stay there forever, the methods and technologies they provide continue to benefit the local people.
Chinese medical teams have also introduced Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) overseas. In many countries, acupuncture has become a popular choice for patients.
"The locals know little about the TCM and stay doubtful at the beginning. However, many patients become TCM fans after experiencing its curative effects," said Liu Chun, a veteran member of Chinese medical teams who has been dispatched to Kuwait three times. TCM treatments have successfully aided local patients in recovering from conditions like tinnitus and facial paralysis.
Six decades on, the determination and spirit of Chinese medical team members have been passed down through generations. At present, Chinese medical teams are still braving various diseases and sowing the seeds of health in 56 countries.