Feature: Chinese support boosts Uganda's health care services

Updated: August 13, 2022 Source: Xinhua News Agency
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KAMPALA, Aug. 12 (Xinhua) -- At the operation table in the Uganda-China Friendship Hospital here, senior Ugandan surgeons and their Chinese counterparts work shoulder to shoulder in saving the lives of ordinary Ugandans who are in dire need of health care.

"The other day I was with a Chinese anesthetist. She was the one who put my patient to sleep during the operation. I appreciate her expertise and the way she was doing it," Emmanuel Tugaineyo, director of the hospital, told Xinhua in an interview on Wednesday.

Funded by China 10 years ago to help boost health care in the east African country, this hospital has become a major landmark in bilateral cooperation in health since the two countries established diplomatic ties 60 years ago.

"The Chinese have done tremendous work in terms of complementing health service delivery in this country. The Chinese government has provided continuous support to this hospital in many areas," Tugaineyo said.

"When you consider the numbers (of patients) that are handled in this hospital alone, they have reduced the kind of pressure that was on Mulago (National Referral Hospital in Kampala) and other health units within the city," he said, noting that the hospital handles an average of 95,000 patients annually.

The hundred-bed hospital was a major treatment center for COVID-19 patients when the country was facing waves of the pandemic, during which China provided various forms of support to the country including sending medical supplies to the hospital.

Since 1983, China has been dispatching medical teams composed of different specialists to Uganda. Up to now, a total of 229 Chinese doctors and experts have provided medical services to local communities in Uganda, according to the Chinese embassy here.

Guo Zhiping, head of the medical team currently serving in Uganda, told Xinhua that besides treating Ugandans, they are also on a mission to pass on medical skills to their Ugandan counterparts.

Guo's team, which is the 22nd such Chinese group since 1983, consists of seven specialists in different fields such as gastroenterology, urology, infectious diseases, otolaryngology, anesthesiology, and traditional Chinese medicine.

"When I came here, I saw those patients who are in need of help, they need our medical services," said Guo.

"I believe our team can share with Ugandan physicians our expertise, technology. And our team also has a mission to be involved in hospital management and we hope we can bring some new ideas," she added.

Betty Kwagala, a patient at the hospital, spoke highly of the Chinese medical personnel when it comes to acupuncture. Kwagala told Xinhua that she tried Western medicine to relieve her back pain but failed. However after being treated with four acupuncture sessions, she can now feel relief from her symptoms.

Tugaineyo said the health ministry is planning to upgrade the hospital into a national referral trauma center and it will need specialists like neurosurgeons, orthopedics and others, so support from China is needed for the center to be fully operational. 

Editor: Li Shimeng